SHAKEN BUT NOT STIRRED! The Schizopolitan podcast roars back into view in its vintage Aston Marton DB5 to bring you another grab-bag of discussion, nerd chat, fierce opinions and big-time spoilers! First up, there’s a quick discussion of Ridley Scott’s recent (and rather odd) comments about the future of the Alien franchise, and whether or not there’s any chance of salvaging it after the good-looking mess that was Prometheus. Then, Saxon indulges in a quick burst of Who-related chat, as he examines the first half of Doctor Who S9, where the unexpected creative renaissance continues and Peter Capaldi remains scarily awesome. And after that, Jehan takes us through his full and spoilerific opinions on the latest James Bond film, Spectre! Is it a decent follow-up to Skyfall? Has it resurrected a classic Bond villain in a fitting manner? Is it just a very silly Bond film that’s attempting to play things seriously by having lots of people glowering? Are the answers to the previous questions “No,” “No,” and “Yes”? ONLY TIME WILL TELL!
FE4RSOME! F4BULOUS! FANT4STIC! The Schizopolitan team have voyaged to a confusing alternate dimension for no readily apparent reason and undergone wild transformations in order to bring you a new, surprisingly compact episode (only 65 minutes! Almost perfect lunch-hour listening!) in which Saxon and Jehan first examine the spectacular mess that is the new Fantastic Four movie. How did it happen? Exactly how bad is it? Will the Fantastic Four ever actually get a halfway-decent movie treatment? And will Fox ever understand what exactly they have with the characters? STRANGE ANALOGIES! TERRIBLE DOOM! INEXPLICABLE ONE-YEAR TIME SHIFTS!
And then, just for an encore, it’s time to wax lyrical about the action-packed fun of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the latest instalment in what’s become a very unusual franchise. How has it ended up so succesful? Why did it take them so long? And can anything stop Tom Cruise from doing incredibly dangerous things? ONLY TIME WILL TELL!
WARNING – some spoilers for Tomorrowland contained within.
Politics can be a divisive business, and it’s no surprise that a lot of people simply hate talking about it, especially when it comes to appreciating and enjoying art and media. But it’s equally true that it’s frequently a topic that can’t really be avoided, especially since so much of art, culture and human expression is inherently political, whether it means to be or not. When you’re a fan of the filmmaker Brad Bird – whose new film Tomorrowland is now playing in cinemas – avoiding politics is nigh-on impossible, and the resulting discussion can often be fractious and tricky to navigate.
Bird is, after all, an extremely political filmmaker, and one whose specific ideology has proven tough for many people to get to grips with, given its unexpected and unconventional nature. He’s primarily known as a purveyor of family entertainments – from his background as a Disney animator to his tenures on The Simpsons and at Pixar – and we’re used to mainstream family entertainments being relatively unchallenging in their political character, usually settling for broadly universal self-empowerment themes, with a dash of left-leaning acceptance and diversity messaging. That’s not really Bird’s style, though – he’s a much more overtly didactic filmmaker, and deviates from the standard script often enough that his philosophy has become distinctive, recognisable and – to a certain degree – controversial. With Tomorrowland, he’s released his most message-driven movie to date, which makes this a good time to have a look at what makes this supremely talented yet oddly divisive filmmaker tick.
DELAYED BUT NOT DEFEATED! Technology and circumstances may have gotten in the way, but Schizopolitan has returned with a new episode, recorded two weeks ago but finally released for your listening pleasure! Here, Saxon and Jehan tackle the colourful and bizarre world of SF movie extravaganza Jupiter Ascending, the latest blockbuster from the writer/directors of the Matrix, and try to understand what exactly went wrong with it. Capitalism! Channing Tatum in rocket boots! Eddie Redmayne shouting at people! IT’S ALL HERE! Additionally, the comics recommendation of the podcast gives us a quick look at Marvel’s new line of Star Wars comics, and how they’re exploring the new world of the rebooted SW continuity in different and interesting ways.
IT’S BACK! The Schizopolitan podcast returns, and this week has achieved the seemingly impossible by recording an episode that is only an hour long! This time around, Saxon and Jehan go in-depth on the recent news of the corporate team-up that means Spider-Man will now be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What’s the background to this? What does it mean? Will we just be getting Spider-Man’s origins AGAIN? How will Spidey’s presence work in the MCU? Can Marvel make audiences forget the mistakes that Sony made with the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ movies? And what does this mean for the chances of seeing insane Spider-Man spin-offs like ‘Assorted Random Spider-Man Bad Guys’, ‘Look! We’re doing a Female Superhero Movie!’ and ‘Aunt May: Dawn of Justice’? It’s all here, for your listening pleasure!
IT’S BACK! The greatest podcast in the entire history of the universe (*citation needed) returns with its ninth episode of genial insanity! This time around, Saxon and Jehan tackle a wide variety of subjects, from fairy-tale musical Into the Woods and Disney animation Big Hero 6 to the casting announcement for the new all-female Ghostbusters reboot, along with new trailers for Fantastic Four and Ant-Man, before getting stuck into a full-on analysis of the current state of Superhero TV! Agent Carter! Agents of SHIELD! The Flash! Gotham’s continuing tonal insanity! It’s all here for your enjoyment and delectation!
This week’s contents:
00:00:00 – 00:13:00 – Into the Woods
00:13:00 – 00:22:30 – Big Hero 6
00:22:30 – 00:37:09 – Ghostbusters
00:37:09 – 00:49:30 – Fantastic Four (and Ant-Man)
00:49:30 – 01:37:48 – The Big Superhero TV Round-Up
It returns! The Schizopolitan podcast roars into 2015 with a fresh episode, in which Saxon and Jehan take on The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies! Not only do they examine the latest Peter Jackson film in detail, they also us it to look back on the whole experience of Middle-Earth on film, and all the interestingly weird ways in which the Hobbit Trilogy hasn’t worked out as planned. Action! Bloat! Sexy Dwarves! Plus, a Comic Recommendation for the current (and spectacular) Image Humble Comics Bundle, an offer which runs until January 21st 2015!
Shiny. So shiny. ALL THE SHINY. I hadn’t watched Tron: Legacy since seeing it in IMAX in 2010, and it’s still a fantastically odd film – a megabudget sequel to an oddball 1982 example of style over substance that was a cult favourite and a style classic but never what could objectively be described as good. Here, we get shininess, epic vistas, gigantic amounts of visual style, and an hilariously creaky screenplay – plus, it’s also a fantastic argument for getting a Blu-Ray player and a decent soundsystem so that Daft Punk’s epic soundtrack can DESTROY you with its bass. There’s a good film trying to make itself heard inside Tron: Legacy, but it’d take a better director than Joseph Kosinski to make it happen. The Arena/Light Cycles sequence remains a highlight, and Jeff Bridges’ creepy digital younger self remains a brave but failed experiment that latter-day films have mostly steered clear of. Odd to view it in context as Disney’s attempt at doing an Avatar (which had hit only a year previously), and that Hollywood is no longer quite so desperate to sell us on 3-D as it once was.
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Wes Anderson films often don’t agree with me (I can remember being frustrated and confounded by Rushmore, while others adored it) but this weird and melancholy confection is just about stylised and crazy enough to win me over. Presented inside a nested set of stories (with different aspect ratios), it’s an oddball 1930s European caper that gradually unveils a darker, more violent edge, before delivering a tragic finale in its last minutes. As always, it features an incredible cast (Ralph Fiennes is a particular urbane highlight), it’s production-designed within an inch of its life and so studied and kooky that it may make less open-minded viewers want to scream, but it’s also a gloriously odd exercise in moviemaking that plays as if Anderson had watched the stranger films of the Coen Brothers and declared “Not odd enough!”, thus pushing into territory that’s sometimes similar to fellow cinematic arch-kook Guy Maddin. I may not always adore his work, but I’m glad that Wes Anderson is still out there, making these kind of individual, quirky, love-them-or-hate-them films.
It returns! Once more, Saxon and Jehan hurl themselves into the heart of the pop culture maelstrom to discuss the latest SF/Fantasy pop culture happenings! This time, it’s a trailer special as they take on the recent burst of movie trailers for films upcoming in 2015 – along with an in-depth (and pretty much unavoidable) discussion of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser, they also talk Insurgent, Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World, Terminator: Genisys, and much more! (Rewatch the relevant trailers above, to get you in the podcast-listening mood!)
It returns! The Schizopolitan podcast rides again, and this time Jehan and Saxon have cranked up their V8 Interceptor and blasted out of the Wastelands with a bunch of fetish-clad bikers on their tail, all so they can bring you a detailed examination of the Mad Max trilogy, the three post-apocalyptic cult classic movies that gave us a uniquely bonkers view of the end of the world. Cars! Bikes! Trucks! Mel Gibson! Assless chaps! MORE ACTION THAN YOU CAN POSSIBLY HANDLE! (With a few added technical snafus…)