School of Movies podcast

Casino Royale

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[School of Movies 2021]

To coincide with the long-awaited release of No Time to Die we decided to go back to the beginning of Daniel Craig's career as 007. A decade ago I covered the first 22 Bond movies with James Batchelor and Gary Blower, over three mammoth episodes, covering each era. That took us all the way up to Quantum of Solace. 

But Sharon wasn't on those, episodes and we only had so much time to cover each movie. Plus I'd like to think we've gotten better over the years. So this one is all about the 2006 debut movie, which remains our favourite of the series for reasons we will definitely be elaborating upon. Next week, since we've already covered Skyfall and Spectre together, back in 2015 we will be talking about the much-maligned sequel, Quantum of Solace.

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    The Abyss

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    [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. 
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    The Eternals

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    [School of Movies 2021] This one came out surprisingly contentious. What was originally, seemingly set to be Marvel powering back into Phase 4 with a new group of superbeings now that The Avengers are on garden leave, actually turned out to be quite a risky endeavour. It's a Space-Odyssey-scaled combination of metaphysical rumination, mature interpersonal relationships, deliberately diverse casting and a hot property award-winning Chinese, female director with a very personal pitch. It's also got epic fights, giant monster greeblies and laser eyes. And at least in terms of box office and critical praise it seems right now like this gamble hasn't worked. A lot of folks bounced right off Eternals. We ourselves were thrown by many elements, but ultimately warmed to it, and we suspect this one might grow in appreciation over time. Find out possible reasons why, right here.  Guests: Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse
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    Aliens

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    [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 
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    [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
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    [School of Everything Else 2021] One of the best shows on Netflix and one of the finest animated series, very specifically tailored for an adult audience. Castlevania achieves, philosophically speaking, what so many other lesser shows set out to accomplish and find themselves still wanting. It's surprisingly softly spoken, mostly concerned with establishing and developing characters. It's dark and sad and seductive and consistently funny. It's about power-plays and loneliness. And the soul of humanity is always on trial.  In this episode we go through the four seasons, covering the major characters in a roughly chronological order. We discuss some of the major story beats, so if you want to watch the show knowing nothing you might want to do that first. Seasons 1 & 2 are 12 episodes altogether and form their own full and dramatic story. Seasons 3 and 4 elaborate upon that, forming a longer second half which gets even richer and more explorative.  Guest: Toby Jungius of Through the Wind Door @TJungius 
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    [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. 
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    Candymen

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    [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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    [School of Everything Else 2021] For the first time ever, a direct MCU production really threw me. We've had underachieving films in the past, like the listless Thor: The Dark World, the dramatically unexplorative Ant-Man and The Wasp and starting out with a really serious challenge for our flawed hero before dropping the PTSD ball in the third act with Iron Man 3. Thanos was troublingly handled in Infinity War and a year of imbecilic agreement in the myopic viewpoints of a sympathetically-cast abuser only made that worse. WandaVision, Falcon and Loki all had their missed marks in otherwise solid packages. But this one was wildly uneven. It had two episodes I actively despise, a couple I absolutely adore and a bunch of fluff in the middle. And so that we end on a high note we will be scaling the Marvel mountain in that order. Guests: Greg Downing of Through the Wind Door @MightyGregDoge Austin Wilden from our Discord @WC_WIT
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    No Time to Die

    2:06:08

    [School of Movies 2021] We hadn't planned on doing this one so early, but by the time I walked out of the cinema I wanted to finish off the quintet with the same flourish and passion as this film does. It impressed the hell out of me, and then did the same for Sharon. And when we began recording neither of us knew what the other thought, which creates an unusual frisson. No spoilers in these notes. But I honestly suggest you see the film before listening. One of our listeners has never seen ANY Bond movies, so to her I suggested Casino Royale or Skyfall as a stand-alone first experience, as all five in a row is a big ask especially with the wildly varying tones across the fifteen-year board. I am also re-releasing the 2015 shows on Skyfall and Spectre on the main feed, so that all these soldiers are lined up in a row. I'm already being told on social media "I have to say I hated it" which makes me sad on several levels. To me, while the length and pacing are uneven, much like the overall series, this is a triumph. 
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    [School of Movies 2015] NOTE: This is a remastered episode, re-released for 2021. Unlike Skyfall, where I made a handful of tweaks, this one received a heavy edit. Almost an HOUR of the original show was devoted to speculation on what Sony/MGM/EON/Danjaq would do with the *next* Bond film. At the time Daniel Craig seemed to have had enough, and it was very much a possibility that Spectre would be his last outing. Ergo pretty much everything we said is now irrelevant. So I streamlined the conversation to be only about the film itself, and added a lot more of Thomas Newman's excellent score. If you really want the uncut show you can find it in the School of Movies Archive podcast feed.  This is a supremely divisive movie. On the one hand some folks hail it as a fantastic instalment of the long-running series, proof that 007 is still flying high. On the other, it has been decried as evidence of the exact opposite, seemingly underlining and exemplifying everything that was broken about Bond back in the past when we had little else in the way of action movies to choose from. Guest: Gary Blower of GamerBurst

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