School of Movies
Stand By Me

Stand By Me

June 18, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

NOTE: War for the Planet of the Apes will be released next week, along with the archived episodes on Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. 

Four 12-year-old boys on a hot Labor Day weekend in 1959 walk from their small town of Castle Rock to find and report the body of a young man hit by a train. What follows is a touching drama about the betrayal of the adult world, and the importance of standing by those whom nobody else will stand by.

Back in 1982 Stephen King took a break from supernatural horror to write Different Seasons, a book of four short stories. The Body, which was adapted into this film in 1986 by Rob Reiner, Apt Pupil, adapted by Bryan Singer in 1998, The Breathing Method (which should probably stay un-adapted, but is apparently is an announced project with Doctor Strange helmer Scott Derrickson) and Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption, which wound up as one of the greatest films of all time. 

This is a double-bill collaboration between us and the Old Kids Movies podcast. We are on their 50th episode this week, talking about Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989). It was great both guesting and having them on our show, and both episodes are excellent listening.

Guests:

AJ Beltis @AJBeltis 

Trevor Howell @MetalTrowell 

Of Old Kids Movies @oldkidsmovies 

And their podcast can be found here 

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express

June 11, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

The second cinematic adaptation of the 1934 mystery by Agatha Christie. When this first emerged in 2017 there was a bit of a sniffy outcry from the press. Why does it even exist? Why re-adapt a book that already had a 1974 film by Sidney Lumet and was a key episode of the David Suchet serials? Since the long-running British TV show and the 40+ year-old movie exist, that should be enough for any potential new audience member!

After watching this gobsmackingly sumptuous epic, shot on glorious 65mm film by the always-meticulous Kenneth Brannagh, with a soaring score by Patrick Doyle and a cast so delicious you'll have no room for pudding... we respectfully beg to differ with those critics. 

The first 42 minutes of this episode are spoiler-free. After that we delve into the many characters and their motivations. We recommend you see the film first, but if you can't or don't want to, the rest of the show shouldn't really ruin your eventual enjoyment of it.

Full disclosure; This show was commissioned by Greg Downing and Toby Jungius, hosts of the Through the Wind Door podcast, which discusses the many stories in The New Century Multiverse. We wanted to chip in for their new microphones, but it felt like greasing the palms of our most prolific critics. So instead we just waived the fee on this one and let them buy their own mics.

Guest:

Victoria Luna B. Grieve: @VixenVVitch 

The Cell

The Cell

June 4, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

This one was recorded a long while ago. It's pretty extreme and not for the squeamish. A serial killer thriller from the year 2000 with the customary sub-genre-ingrained fixation on stomach-churning detail. 

Where it strays more into our wheelhouse is that the plot revolves around a social worker who dives into people's minds and wanders around looking for clues. This drove Sharon bonkers as all ethical practices were cast aside, and the core of this episode is her trying to hold it together as the film gets dumber and more misleading.

It was directed by Tarsem Singh, who has an eye for striking visuals. He directed Immortals, Mirror, Mirror and a movie nobody saw but is extremely good (and actually has a heart, unlike this), called The Fall. We really hope he one day gets to bring his jaw-dropping art-gallery flair to something people can love, because THIS film in particular is not a worthy showcase for his talents, nor those of the frequently splendid Jennifer Lopez.

The Leftover Army Podcast on Tremors 

About Time

About Time

May 21, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

Richard Curtis has only directed three films in his career. Usually he relegates himself to writing and producer roles, and you can always tell when you're watching one of his movies. Certain recurring character types and themes keep re-emerging.

The first directed was Love Actually, the second The Boat That Rocked, but this third and reputedly final effort is genuinely a cut above everything that came before. It's not without its issues, as we will go into on the show. Painfully British, painfully white, painfully upper-middle-class, and imbued with an adoring yet patronising view of woman.

But it has a huge heart. It's a time travel story that really gets how the philosophy underpinning its story can absolutely apply to our own lives, devoid of quantum physics. It also has one of cinemas all-time best Dads in it, in the shape of Bill Nighy. So we recruited the same time travel expert who helped me with my own book on that tricky subject, to help us discuss what about this film works so well.

Guest

Jesse Ferguson @TheDapperDM

from the Recorded Tomorrow Podcast

Godzilla vs. Kong

Godzilla vs. Kong

April 16, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

The fourth, and potentially final outing in the Warner Bros. Monsterverse series. Following Godzilla II: King of the Monsters (2019) which is magnificent and to many the pinnacle of this quartet, Kong: Skull Island (2017) which is most definitely worth seeing to acquaint yourself with *this* version of the giant gorilla, and finally Godzilla (2014) which was the most popular at the box office yet seems to be the least enthusiastically recalled. 

In this show I come up with yet another food metaphor for each of these four, and we discuss what might have been left on the cutting room floor in the attempts to streamline this thing into a lean, fun, colourful, fast-paced series of spectacular wrestling matches. 

Guests:

Dan Hoeppner  @MightyMegatron0  of Leftover Army Monsters

Brendan Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew

The Others

The Others

April 9, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

An elegant, haunting Spanish-style ghost story of obsession and loss. This Gothic chiller materialised in 2001, from director Alejandro Amenabar (who also composed the score, which flits from comforting flute and harp to clangourous and menacing cacophony).

This was a commissioned show from Nicole-Kidman-appreciator Colin L. Dysart, and he picked one of our favourite performances of hers. This was the one that made us think she would be an ideal Marisa Coulter in His Dark Materials. She plays the whole thing with a brittle, fierce tenacity, clinging to what she believes is true, as her world unravels in this shadowy Jersey stately home.

It's also got some terrific child-actor performances, as the two endangered kids start to cotton onto the possibility that there may be more going on with the intruders to their home. It is a ghost story where light is so much more threatening than darkness.

Return to OZ

Return to OZ

March 26, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

The Commissions Season continues with a show sponsored by Maya Santandrea. Much like last year's Labyrinth show, this is also a story about a girl who travels inward on her fantasy adventures and winds up uncovering certain key things about herself.

It is based on two of the L. Frank Baum OZ novels, from which The Wonderful Wizard of OZ was also adapted in 1939. There have been other adaptations before and since, including Wicked and OZ: The Great and Powerful.

This one, however, released by Disney in 1985 to critical derision and scared, offput audiences who seemed to want a bouncy musical rather than a dark fairytale, eventually became an obscure cult classic. Those who love it do so with a passion, and we are here to talk about why that may be. It should be available to view on Disney+.

Guests:

Hollywoo Actress  Maya Santandrea @Mayasantandrea

Jason "Chewie" Slate @TheManaPool 

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300

Kung Fu Hustle

Kung Fu Hustle

March 5, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

This is a commissioned show by Alex Vargas and Joe G. Stephen Chow's cartoonishly absurd, occasionally brutal, breathtakingly elegant and frequently side-splitting opera of kung fu. 

Back in the 1940s Shanghai The Axe Gang rule the streets, massacring those who stand in their way (with axes). One day a pair of inept conmen come calling at Pigsty Alley and try to grift slim pickings from the locals, only to find, (along with the Axe Gang) that they are guarded by martial arts masters.

What follows is a war between plucky heroes and rotten villains, and some of the most stunning and hilarious fights you will ever see.

Guest:

Victoria Luna B. Grieve: @VixenVVitch 

Grease

Grease

February 26, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

The Commissions Season continues with this classic, sponsored by Matthew A Seibert. It's a film made in 1978, set in 1958 meant for adults who were teens in that time period, now being watched more than 40 years later in 2021 by the children of those adults who grew up watching it and are now themselves adults. So this is going to be a kaleidoscope of shifting perspectives. 

The premise is simple, a sweet-natured Australian girl meets a sweet guy at the beach in Chicago. Then when she later turns up in his high school he acts like a different person in front of his male buddies. The girl throws her lot in with an indimidating gaggle of punky ladies, and the two groups sniff around one another, preparing for the horrors of real life after they graduate. 

It's a world where adults barely feature and teenagers clash, excitably, make fun of one another, and are sexually interested. This was made at a time when that sort of alchemy was new and thrilling, rather than a dead cert. Amid the peer pressure and societal expectations heaped upon these panicking hormonal kids (all played convincingly by adults) there's also a bunch of incredibly memorable and abiding songs.

Guests:

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300

Die Hard & Die Hard 2: Die Harder

Die Hard & Die Hard 2: Die Harder

January 10, 2010

0m: In this first show, we discuss the Nakatomi incident, John and Holly’s relationship and Hans’ status as one of the greatest movie villains of all time. We also look at how immensely influential Die Hard has been both for action-thrillers and the portrayal of cinematic heroes.

52m: The 1990 sequel to Die Hard. You know the drill; airport in trouble, terrorists, gunfights. Experience firsthand what happens when the Gonzo format encounters a movie that’s actually just pretty mediocre. Tangents galore! Other movies, what made them good, anything to save us from traipsing through the minutia of this by-the-numbers late 80’s action movie.

There’s also some hilarious dubbing work from the TV edits.

Guests:

Neil Taylor of GameBurst.

Mike Philips from The Fanboys Lunchcast,

Matthew Ramsey of GamerDork

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