Episodes

  • [School of Movies 2021]

    One of the first huge blockbuster movies made by a western studio with a largely eastern cast, this one really underlines my abiding contention that "Superhero" is not a genre, and neither, as it turns out is "Martial Arts". Would we say Boogie Nights was a "Sex Movie?". Genre is an increasingly blurry construct to help marketers and those who want to know what to watch.

    Luckily for us all though this particular Martial Arts Superhero movie is fantastic. Once again, we urge everyone to be as safe as possible and not take risks. But even if you aren't able to see this in the cinema, you have something special to look forward to on your TV screen in the near future, and while we discuss what happens we can't really spoil the movie for you. It's too rich and nourishing for that.

    Guests:

    Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse

    Jesse Ferguson @TheDapperDM

    from the Recorded Tomorrow Podcast

  • [School of Everything Else 2021]

    An iconic series of games that has run since 1986 but never really resonated with mass audiences the way that Mario and Sonic did. These are the tales of vampire hunters and the creatures of the night that stand between them and (usually) Dracula.

    They have gone through many phases, and we cover each of them here in this mammoth, epic and thoroughly comprehensive show. First there are the side-scrolling whip-and-jump titles from the NES onwards through the SNES and Mega Drive, followed by their reinvention as both 3D action games, and (more significantly for video gaming history) as metroidvanias (a term that had to be invented to best describe them).

    We take you through the rocky territory of Lords of Shadow and the triumphant return as "Bloodstained" as publisher Konami ran the official license into the ground with pachinko machines. We even touch on the strange and elusive mobile games.

    This show will tell you which of the 30+ titles are really worth sinking time into and why. And the whole thing is soaked in atmosphere and a dark, Gothic smorgasbord of classic music.

    Guests:

    Jason "Chewie" Slate @TheManaPool

    Alexa Vargas @Plutoburns whose YouTube channel is here

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  • [School of Everything Else 2021]

    One of the greatest, most influential TV shows of all time. We watched the whole thing on blu ray, and not only does it hold up, it still surpasses most Batman media. Oftentimes lynchpins like this are hyped and oversaturated to the point where they can hardly live up to the cultural expectations, but this one really does.

    The first season was a HUGE run of 65 episodes which spanned a year from September '92 to '93. The second season was a more conservative 20, which went from May '94 to September '95. By this point it was time for Superman to get his own show (encapsulating the classic character rather than subverting him) which we will hopefully be covering soon.

    There were a series of movies released on TV and VHS (as well as a brief, invisible theatrical release for Mask of the Phantasm, which we covered all the way back in 2012. And then 24 episodes of The New Batman Adventures switched up the art style and went from September '97 to January '99. It's the finer points and highlights of these three seasons that we focus on in this mammoth show.

    Guests:

    Toby Jungius @TJungius of Through the Wind Door

    Kevin Veighey @GoldenTalesGeek whose Let's Plays on YouTube can be found here

  • [School of Movies 2021]

    Since this theatrically released movie, based on no particular existing IP barely made a couple of hundred million dollars in its first fortnight, statistically speaking that means the majority of you won't have seen it.

    That's why we're giving you a deep dive episode, delving into the subtext that a lot of folks either took for granted or missed entirely. And far from spoiling the story we hope it actually makes it even better for you.

    The short of it is, what if one of the civilians in Grand Theft Auto started thinking for itself. Cue a lot of familiar moments, and some surprising directions. The devil is of course in the details, and that's what we have for you.

    Guests:

    Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse

    From Sequentially Yours Kaoru Negisa @Moonpanther22

    and Debbie Morse @bastet8300

    Greg Downing @MightyGregDoge of Through the Wind Door

    Alexa Vargas @Plutoburns whose YouTube channel is here

    Chris Finik @finmonster09 who assembles New Century's TV Tropes Pages and who writes fanfic (including a Dark Tower / Tiger's Eye crossover)

  • [School of Movies 2021]

    Militarized slaves are sent to an island to clean up a violent mess with plausible deniability. An instant hit with both audiences and critics on release, this 2021 film is the realization of the John Ostrander-era of the Suicide Squad/Task Force X concept that actually first appeared as far back as 1959 (prior to Marvel's Silver Age of The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and The Avengers.

    And yet it faltered at the box office, due to several reasons. Being R-rated in the middle of a pandemic, the sour taste of the 2016 David Ayer film, the absence of Joker and let's not discount an abundance of dark superhero satire in TV and movies, which this feels like. By all rights, fans of The Boys and Invincible should have turned up in droves, and yet that association may have worked against the film in the end.

    This episode is simply me telling Sharon about the experience of watching the film in the cinema for the first time, augmented by further thoughts as I mulled it over in the interim days. It was a mixed bag for me, with strong elements sat side by side with things I've seen done better elsewhere.

  • [School of Movies 2021]

    By far and away Warner's highest grossing superhero film of the DCEU so far*, this one had the global market sewn up with a dazzling, epic ocean-hopping fantasy quest. Dismissed as 'dumb' by the critics, Aquaman is nonetheless one of my very favourite superhero films, and on today's show we go into detail as to the thriving ecosystem that exists just under the surface.

    The pandemic, and constant studio shake-ups have definitely hurt the DC brand (sadly including The Suicide Squad which we're covering next week). But at least this one and Wonder Woman proved that DC could find success beyond endless Batman, Superman and Joker movies.

    *Aquaman $1.1b / Batman V Superman $873m / Wonder Woman $822m / Suicide Squad $746m / Man of Steel $668m / Justice League $657m / Shazam! $366m / Birds of Prey $201m / Wonder Woman 1984 $166m / Zack Snyder's Justice League $70m

    Guests:

    Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse

    Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst @JeromeMci

  • [School of Movies 2021]

    Our Summer season of DC spotlighting reaches Captain Marvel. This was a big change for the recent movies, eschewing the epic scale of gods among humans and focusing on a regular kid imbued with the power of the gods.

    Part 1980s coming of age movie, part found-family drama, part weirdly disturbing villain origin. And unlike most other superhero movies this one has an unusual time limit on it as a series, which is why we recruited some very particular guests this time around.

    https://franchisekillerpod.podbean.com/

    Guests:

    From the Franchise Killer Podcast: @FK_Podcast

    David Schmitzer

    Irena Schmitzer

    Rhys Paine

  • [School of Movies 2021]

    One of our very favourite DC universe movies, added to the towering collection of three dozen shows we've covered in the past (and yes I do list all of them).

    Criminally underviewed and undervalued, and launched mere weeks before lockdown began in early 2020, this is a crazed cult crime caper for the ages. A collection of disparate, separate, embattled women all find that their aggressors lead to one place.

    It's filthy and violent and only one person has a superpower which gets used once. This was Margot Robbie's treasured project that couldn't be more different from 2016's Suicide Squad.

    [Next Week: Shazam!]

    Guests:

    Hollywoo Actress Maya Souris @Mayasantandrea

    Victoria Luna B. Grieve: @VixenVVitch

    Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst @JeromeMci

  • [School of Everything Else 2021]

    A time-bending, space-bending, reality-bending miniseries about an unrepentant villain who did a colonialism on account of his upbringing in a society that was founded on precisely this principle.

    And an introduction to yet another Marvel leading lady who has been kidnapped, gaslit and abused for most of her existence and definitely deserves better.

    Loki has been a frustrating watch for many and a source of relentless joy for others. The slew of fan art that has dotted our Twitter feeds suggest people are getting a great deal of spicy satisfaction from the chemistry. But the slew of hot negative takes, also suggests it once again disappointed fans.

    Our show on what we found out at the end was the first season is quite special for a number of reasons, so listen closely.

    Guests:

    Victoria Luna B. Grieve: @VixenVVitch

    Theo Leigh of The New Century Multiverse

    Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst

    Jesse Ferguson @TheDapperDM

    from the Recorded Tomorrow Podcast

  • [School of Movies 2021]

    Two years have passed since we were last in the cinema watching a Marvel movie. It feels like an astonishing amount of time, and a lot of you folks will have watched on Disney+

    This one has been a long time coming, kicking off Phase 4, despite the core concept of Natasha Romanoff's solo outing being ideally placed in Phase 1, prior to Avengers (perhaps instead of Iron Man 2), or Phase 2 when Avengers proved she was big-screen dynamite (perhaps instead of Thor 2) or Phase 3 where after all the years of lollygagging DC beat Marvel to the leading lady post by almost two years (even though this could have been ideally placed instead of Ant-Man 2: Featuring The Wasp).

    As it stands, Black Widow serves many masters, and is about more than simply Natasha herself. It's a fitting send-off and a welcome introduction all at once.

    Guests:

    Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse

    Mackenzie Eastram @KenziePhoenix of Rainbow Connection @MuppetsPod

  • [School of Movies 2021]

    A movie nobody has seen, but we want to tell you about. A movie that was barely released in the cinema, on VHS, DVD and now Blu Ray. A movie unavailable to legitimately stream anywhere. A movie about a pirate radio station speaking truth to power and making silenced voices heard.

    This one came out in 1990, it's directed by Allan Moyle who was behind Times Square (1980) and Empire Records (1995). The three films, spread across fifteen years all speak of disaffected kids, cast aside by a society they aren't able to comfortably slot themselves into, and their subsequent means of rebellious self-expression. They're all worth watching (with Empire being the lightest and easiest to underestimate).

    You should absolutely listen if you haven't heard it, because we have effectively adapted the story for radio. And because this movie is so punk, once you've listened we did find a way you could then watch it Pump up the Volume at Archive.org

  • [School of Movies 2021]

    This might be the worst superhero ever. Not the movie, I'm sure there are a bunch out there more poorly constructed. Some of the sets and costumes and Jerry Goldsmith's score are great. I'm talking about The Shadow himself, especially now, and especially to me personally.

    Welcome to a post--Burton-Batman world that might be the 1920s, 30s or 40s. A gangster-laden New York presided over by a millionaire who dresses up at night and prowls the streets with his guns and his mocking laugh. From the director of Highlander, and the star of The Cat in the Hat, Alec Baldwin embodies the worst qualities of Batman, the worst qualities of The Punisher and the ignorant racism of Golden Age comic books.

    For this episode we brought back on the folks from the Franchise Killer podcast, since this one definitely didn't get a sequel, for reasons we'll go into. Side note, as always it's okay to like this movie. It's entertaining as hell. The guy is just a massive tool!

    https://franchisekillerpod.podbean.com/

    Guests:

    From the Franchise Killer Podcast: @FK_Podcast

    David Schmitzer

    Irena Schmitzer

    Rhys Paine

  • [School of Movies 2021]

    Back in 2014 we began a journey through the many movies of the Planet of the Apes franchise. We began with the original quintet made in the late 60s through the 70s. Three of those are pretty great, two of them are meandering and lose the thread of what the simian analogy was getting at in the first place.

    After that we covered Tim Burton's mess of a blockbuster which ruined my 21st Birthday! And then we began on the 2011 reboot with Andy Serkis as Caesar, an extraordinary chimpanzee born in the modern era. We followed that with a show about the then-just-released sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

    Now, many years later we have returned to finish what is one of the low-key best sci-fi trilogies in cinema history. A journey from birth through childhood, maturity and fatherhood all the way to messianic saviour. But unlike their predecessors these three always remember that central tenet; The apes are us... and always have been.

  • [Digital Drift 2014]

    Continuing the story of Caesar and his new tribe of intelligent, simian compatriots we rejoin earth ten years after the close of the last picture. It is a quiet, overgrown world of dilapidated buildings being reclaimed by nature, separated pockets of humanity scrabbling to survive and one group of apes living in peaceful seclusion in the redwoods close to San Francisco.

    We accompany you on a journey through discovery and loss, betrayal and loyalty, and actions led by hope and fear. In doing so we take in some truly stunning performances in what constitutes a triumphant thematic remake of the worst of the previous films; Battle for the Planet of the Apes. This is how that one should have been done.

    This show, and its predecessors were recorded in the summer of 2014. It would be seven long years until we reconvened to finish off the new Apes Trilogy.

  • [Digital Drift 2014]

    Ten years after the Burton version surfaced, spluttered and sank, this came out of seemingly nowhere, surprising everyone. Set up as an alternate prequel to the premise of the original 1968 Planet of the Apes, Rise answered the question of “How could this actually happen?”. In marketing terms it serves as a reboot, beginning its own new series which then branched off from the original five movies into its own circular arc.

    One thing I found while editing this show together was that I didn’t have many clips I could use. This is, as I came to realise, because this movie is a masterpiece of visual storytelling. Everything you need to know is conveyed far better in terms of what you’re looking at, both in terms of its ape and human stars.

    Director Rupert Wyatt is at the top of his game here, James Franco and John Lithgow pull off rarely valued, powerful performances and of course Andy Serkis takes centre-stage embodying one of the finest collaborations between performer and digital artists the world has ever seen. Caesar, the chimpanzee, capable of a subtlety and gravity of presence that most actors dream of achieving.

  • [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

  • [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

  • A fresh collaboration that School of Movies is involved with.

    This notification is also going out across The New Century Multiverse and Patreon.

    Come on over and join us in the Discord chat.

    https://www.firesidealliance.com/

  • [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

  • [School of Everything Else 2021]

    This show was recorded a long, long time ago, pre-pandemic, and has been in cryo-storage, waiting to be unleashed. It's all about the 1998 seminal classic, Metal Gear Solid by visionary, genius, dirty old gimmer and maddening eccentric Hideo Kojima. It was an absolute linchpin of my formative years in gaming, and to my mind has only been bettered in the rest of its series dramatically speaking with Snake Eater.

    For this show I went to the absurd lengths it took to acquire the GameCube remake "The Twin Snakes", allowing me to not only appraise that maligned shift in engine and ramped up post-Matrix style, but also to make a serious statement on the importance of not only remakes but remasters, and in continuing them down the line of machines, as lack of backwards-compatibility leaves more and more titles in an unplayable state for the average gaming enthusiast.

    We go into the innovative metatextual gameplay, the crazy characters and foreboding, yet satirical atmosphere as we piece together what made this one such a massive winner.

    Guests:

    Toby Jungius @TJungius of Through the Wind Door

    Derrick Ritchie @thenewdelboy