School of Movies
The Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix Reloaded

January 21, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

For this one we went all-out. It was an incredibly rich and dense discussion for the initial recording and I have added a ton of extra content, all to the sounds of the eclectic soundtrack and the rarely-heard extended score of Don Davis. 

This is the first part of an evolution of the binary Us vs. Them dichotomy of The Matrix (1999) and was far less successful in ensnaring audiences with expanded perspective. What Film 2 sets up, Film 3 knocks down, and then decades later, Film 4 then ruminates on.

So if you always thought the sequels were trash this may at least convey what they were trying to say. If you've always had a soft spot for them this will be a dream come true. 

Next week we will be focusing on The Animatrix (2003)

Guests:

Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse

Victoria Luna B. Grieve:  @VixenVVitch 

Alexa Vargas @Plutoburns whose YouTube channel is here

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

Titanic

Titanic

December 24, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

This is the big one, folks. This is the movie I didn't realise how passionate I was about until we started engaging our analytical style to it. I've had Titanic in the back of my head as a film I really wanted to talk about for many many years, and I suspect i was waiting for The Abyss and True Lies to hit blu ray so we could do a James Cameron Season, or at least for Avatar 2 to finally emerge. In the end we just had to go ahead and hoist the anchor without them.

As it turns out this massive, cinematic phenomenon is rather special. Despised by some, upon its release in 1997, it found the largest audience ever, and bewitched them. And it achieved this success not by being flashy and showy alone, but by giving us a story that many would want to return to again and again. That's one of the more powerful ways to get that top spot. 

And I say this without hyperbole, in terms of shows I've put together with just Sharon and I at the mics, this might be the appropriately grandest. We pulled out all the stops and the edit took five days. So turn the lights low, grab a mug of hot stuff and settle in for a tale of haunted ice.

The Ref

The Ref

December 17, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

Taking a break from Cameron Season to focus on a holiday movie hardly anybody has seen or knows about. This one from 1994, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer is one of the anti-Christmas set. One for people who see the entire family coming over as a bit of a nightmare, rather than the most wonderful time of the year.

The focus is on Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur, a married couple on the rocks, at one another's throats the whole time and each sitting on a powder-keg of resentment. Things take a turn one Christmas Eve when Gus, an irascible cat burglar hiding from the cops takes them hostage, only to find them impossible to deal with.

And then the whole family come round and Gus has to pretend to be their marriage counsellor, Dr Wong, it's a seasonal farce, but one with unexpected heart and grit. It might be hard-going if you don't like dragging everything out to be examined, but we crafted this show to cater to the majority who haven't ever seen this, so you'll get a full sense of the story play out as we guide you through.

And it ends well. 

Next week, one of the most magnificent shows we've ever put together, befitting of the subject matter: Titanic. 

True Lies

True Lies

December 10, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

The Cameron season continues with yet another massive blockbuster for its time that is almost impossible to find in HD today. You can see why we held off this long, just waiting for Jim and the studios to get their act together and release these from the vaults. 

(Un)luckily(?)  Disney have handed the IP over to a new director to make a Disney+ show. It almost certainly won't contain Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jamie Lee Curtis, and the world we're in right now is wildly different to the 1994 this emerged into. It was even a year before Pierce Brosnan's debut as James Bond. And I struggle to fathom why they would want to capitalise on a brand that has been purposefully buried for nearly 30 years, AND hand that project to McG of all people!

But doing so will at least (probably?) bring the film we're covering today to the most accessible streaming platform, so we can all collectively suck air in through our mouths as the brazen, complacent mid-90s dick-waggling at terrorism plays out.

Harry Tasker is a nerdy computer sales representative, or at least that's what his bored wife, Helen thinks. In reality this astonishing-looking man is in fact a covert spy for America. The most believable thing about this extremely entertaining movie is that they would keep smart-talking plot-anchor Tom Arnold in the van the whole time.  

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

December 3, 2021

[Digital Drift 2015]

This was originally released in 2015 in a series covering the (then) five Terminator movies. But it seemed wildly appropriate to recover and spotlight the first two as the Cameron-directed pair stand tall as recognised classics while the rest imitate (though we maintain that Dark Fate from 2019 is a worthy completion of a Trilogy. Check out our April 2020 episode on that woefully overlooked conclusion).

Unlike The Abyss everyone has seen T2. So we delve into the subtleties and lore, starting off with taking it to task over the time travel, but proceeding into this story as a parable for unilateral disarmament.

Joshua Garrity joins us once again to explore this cybernetic opera, in which Los Angeles of the 1990s is as much a character as any of the vibrant figures onscreen. Many thanks to Daniel Floyd for a segment of his on the existentially powerful arcade game Missile Command.

Guest:

Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse

The Abyss

The Abyss

November 26, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

The first all-new show for the James Cameron season, and it's a doozy. 

You may have heard stories about the troubled events of the shoot, and what the actors and crew were forced to go through by their hard taskmaster of a director. Or you may not have. Many people, especially in their 20s or below might never have seen or even *heard* of this 1989 film, sandwiched between Aliens and Terminator 2, since it would appear Cameron himself has been trying to keep it buried at the bottom of the sea for more than 32 years!

There's little other explanation as to why it hasn't received an authorised remastering since the days of laserdisc (ask your grandfathers). So, journey down with us now, as Sharon and I strap on our specialised deep-diving gear and prepare to breathe-in the pink water. 

Aliens

Aliens

November 13, 2021

[Digital Gonzo 2012]

NOTE: This episode has been significantly re-edited, and I would say improved for its 2021 overhaul. The original 2012 show can be found on the School of Movies Archive feed.

James Cameron took the helm from Ridley Scott, and made this sequel into something that complimented and expanded upon the masterful original. With more of a Sci-Fi action feel, the director of Avatar, the two best Terminator films and Piranha II: The Spawning chose to focus on humorous machismo, strong female characters, and a socio-political, anti-military, anti-corporate agenda… it would not be the last time.

Once again we tried to be as serious as possible, once again we failed, hence the multitude of outtakes at the end which include at least one of us in the grip of hysterics.

Guests:

Leah Haydu of Cane and Rinse

Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse

Matt Ramsey of GamerDork

James Perkins of Starburst Magazine 

The Terminator

The Terminator

November 12, 2021

[Digital Drift 2015]

NOTE: The James Cameron season begins! And rather than making you go back and root through the School of Movies Archive podcast feed for the shows on some of his very best films, we are re-releasing The Terminator and Terminator 2 that we recorded for Digital Drift in 2015. Along with this I have done an extensive re-edit of our 2012 show on Aliens for Digital Gonzo. That will be out tomorrow.

Coming up in the next few weeks, intermitting with our show on The Eternals and possibly Ghostbusters: Afterlife we have brand new episodes on The Abyss, True Lies, Titanic and Avatar. 

Now to the film that brought the sci-fi movement in the 80s to a new plateau and made James Cameron a name in the industry. This dark tale of a soldier from a future war coming back to protect an unborn leader may have many elements which stem from a bunch of other works, but it tells itself in such dramatic, intense fashion that it feels special and unnerving, epic and yet intimate. This thing cost $6.4 million and changed cinema forever. 

We turn over every aspect as we establish just how central to the web of sci-fi influence throughout the 80s and beyond this movie is.

Guest:

Josh Garrity of Cane and Rinse

Interview With the Vampire

Interview With the Vampire

October 29, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

One of the most expensive, vampire films ever made. This first adaptation of Anne Rice's Chronicles ran on star power, lavish costume and set design and a potent strain of existential crisis. It's the tale of Louis, a mourning, bereaved widower who in his despairing malaise meets a sleazy, charismatic, sociopathic vampire named Lestat. For reasons we will go into, Louis decides eternal life would be a splendid idea at this point. 

Neil Jordan directs the hell out of this intense Gothic melodrama, which was very important to Sharon as a teenager, and over time has become an excellent example of the kind of bloodsucker movie where we focus on the vampires themselves and they look both inward and outward at humanity. It clearly proved massively influential on Vampire: The Masquerade, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Vampire Diaries, The Twilight Saga, Only Lovers Left Alive and even What We Do in the Shadows. It also spawned a wretched (not-actually-a) sequel in Queen of the Damned (2002), which we will be covering on Patreon. 

Candymen

Candymen

October 22, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

This show is about both the 1992 original, based on the short story "The Forbidden" by Clive Barker and directed by Bernard Rose, AND the 2021 film directed by Nia DaCosta which shares the name but is in fact both a remake and an in-world sequel. 

We decided to gate off all discussion of the new film for the second half of this show, so you can listen to the first half without fear of learning too much. However, both are now available for rental and we would sincerely suggest you watch the pair in release order (ignoring the straight-to-video grade sequels "Farewell to the Flesh" (1995) and "Day of the Dead" (1999).

What started out quite troublesome with a mixed message and a powerful yet clumsy execution has now been sharpened to a razor edge of social satire and brooding, urban horror, rightfully reclaimed. And to make this one even spicier, we attempted not to speak His name even once, lest we inadvertently summon Him.

...Listen if you dare, to hear if we made it all the way through the show.

01. Candyman (1992) 00h 02m

02. Candyman (2021) 01h 18m

Guests:

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300

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