Em is the host, creator, researcher, editor, social media manager & chief coffee maker of Verbal Diorama.
Recent episodes featuring Em McGowan
The Incredibles
Most parents think their kids are gifted. Most kids think their parents are heroes (whilst also being really embarrassing!). Most families are super, but only the Parr family is Incredible.Unlike the other movies featured in the animation season so far, The Incredibles was a massive critical and commercial success for Brad Bird, the first out-of-house film-maker Pixar brought into the fold. While his previous movie, The Iron Giant (see episode 17!) failed to make a mark at the box office, The Incredibles flew high, without capes, into the hearts and minds of millions.But don't be fooled. It's not just your standard superhero movie. It has layers and layers of complexity in its style and substance. It's a study about family, mid-life crises, marital problems and identity, and it does it whilst balancing action, comedy and character perfectly and most importantly, it never sugar-coats the serious real-world danger of being a superhero.It's bright, colourful, gorgeous, fun and endlessly quotable. This is my favourite Pixar movie for a reason. I think it's super.You sly dog, you got me monologuing! (Well, it's a solo podcast, so it's kinda inevitable)I would love to hear your thoughts on The Incredibles! You can get in touch onTwitter @verbaldioramaInstagram @verbaldioramaFacebook @verbaldioramaYouTube @verbaldioramaLetterboxd @verbaldioramaor you can email me general hellos, feedback or suggestions:verbaldiorama [at] gmail [dot] comThank you to our Patreon Producer Sade, patrons Simon E, Jardiel, Claudia and Simon B for supporting Verbal Diorama! To support the show on Patreon from just $2 a month, have a look over at https://www.patreon.com/verbaldiorama and choose your Keanu - you can now get the majority of episodes early too!You can rate or review the show in iTunes or at Apple Podcasts and I'd very much appreciate that!My website is at https://verbaldiorama.comThanks to the following for their contributions to this episode:Twitter peepsAndy @geeksaladradioDave @NFTDTSade @offscreenbabble - Patreon producer Sade, here!@SeanGeekPodcast@derekjones198@AttheflicksPod@iused2watchthis@FriendsNFlayers@PulpCereal@kevin_thecritic@hugospostsFacebook chumsErik CarlsonLorraine PurdonTheme Music: Verbal Diorama Theme SongMusic by Chloe Enticott - Compositions by Chloe FacebookLyrics by Chloe Enticott (and me!)Production by Ellis Powell-Bevan of Ewenique Studios.Go, confront the problem. Fight! Win! And call me when you get back, darling. I enjoy our visits.
Kubo and the Two Strings
If you saw Kubo and the Two Strings, you'd probably be in agreement with me when I say that's it's the most stunning achievement in stop motion filmmaking, and Laika deserve all the accolades.The problem is, not many people did see it. In fact although it's arguably Laika's best work, it's also one of their biggest financial failures, which is a travesty and we should all hang our heads in shame (me included - I first saw it on Blu-Ray!).Telling the story of a young boy on an epic quest, it's a tale of the bond of family (especially mothers and sons), found family, courage, power, memories and ultimately that kindness is a strength, not a weakness.The sheer feat of skill, technology, engineering, innovation and determination is etched into every snowflake and leaf all the way up to a record breaking 16 foot tall skeleton puppet.In short, this movie surpasses technical achievement. It's exceptional. And, like me, you'll probably cry a lot.Visit Laika's YouTube Channel hereI would love to hear your thoughts on Kubo and the Two Strings! You can get in touch onTwitter @verbaldioramaInstagram @verbaldioramaFacebook @verbaldioramaYouTube @verbaldioramaLetterboxd @verbaldioramaor you can email me general hellos, feedback or suggestions:verbaldiorama [at] gmail [dot] comThank you to our Patreon Producer Sade, patrons Simon E, Jardiel, Claudia and Simon B for supporting Verbal Diorama! To support the show on Patreon from just $2 a month, have a look over at https://www.patreon.com/verbaldiorama and choose your Keanu - you can now get the majority of episodes early too!You can rate or review the show in iTunes or at Apple Podcasts and I'd very much appreciate that!My website is at https://verbaldiorama.comThanks to the following for their contributions to this episode:Twitter peeps@SYIMS_Podcast@FalseStartsPod@Robnoady@TheMiddleborne@GnarlyJimbobInstagram folk@mobisze@vegimorph@thisfilmislitTheme Music: Verbal Diorama Theme SongMusic by Chloe Enticott - Compositions by Chloe FacebookLyrics by Chloe Enticott (and me!)Production by Ellis Powell-Bevan of Ewenique Studios.
Akira (ft Anita & Ciara from The Unexceptionals)
The animation season continues with Akira, pre-recorded in November 2019, live at SAMM's Peterborough, where I met up with my special guests Anita and Ciara from The Unexceptionals podcast, and quite frankly they couldn't have been nicer and more brilliant.Set in 2019, the legendary anime Akira is more relevant to our real 2019 than our 1988 could have possibly predicted. It's a story of isolation, fear and the corruption of power and youth, and asks questions about our existence and the evolution of humanity post-disaster. This version of Neo-Tokyo contrasts between the bright beautiful neon cityscape and the dismal dark downtown streets where young people like Tetsuo and Kaneda face an uncertain future.It's also a movie that continues to influence other movies; Inception, Chronicle and The Matrix all take themes from Akira and with a Taika Waititi-directed live-action remake in the pipeline, Akira will continue to inspire cinema for years to come. We also talk about the movies that influenced Akira's look, such as Blade Runner and Tron. Basically, this movie looks, sounds and feels stunning.In summary, I recorded Akira with the collective noun "A-Ciara" and we had, quite frankly, a massive amount of fun talking about an iconic anime that you should be watching!It's worth noticing there is occasionally a bit of an echo on my voice (because their mics also picked me up!) but I've tried to reduce it. Hopefully it's not too off-putting!Massive thanks to the hilarious and amazing Anita and Ciara for guesting on Akira. They can be found and followed at @_unexceptionals on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook, and the first season of The Unexceptionals can be downloaded wherever you get your podcasts from. The second season will be out early this year, so watch out for that!I would love to hear your thoughts on Akira! You can get in touch onTwitter @verbaldioramaInstagram @verbaldioramaFacebook @verbaldioramaYouTube @verbaldioramaLetterboxd @verbaldioramaor you can email me general hellos, feedback or suggestions:verbaldiorama [at] gmail [dot] comThank you to our Patreon Producer Sade, patrons Simon E, Jardiel, Claudia and new patron Simon B for supporting Verbal Diorama! To support the show on Patreon from just $2 a month, have a look over at https://www.patreon.com/verbaldiorama and choose your Keanu!You can rate or review the show in iTunes or at Apple Podcasts and I'd very much appreciate that!My website is at https://verbaldiorama.comTheme Music: Verbal Diorama Theme SongMusic by Chloe Enticott - Compositions by Chloe FacebookLyrics by Chloe Enticott (and me!)Production by Ellis Powell-Bevan of Ewenique Studios.Thanks to SAMM's Peterborough for allowing us use of their basement at the venue for recording!
Arthur Christmas
Our animation season kicks off with a heartwarming family Christmas favourite, starring Dasher, Dancer, Prancer....erm, Bambi, John, the one with the white ear and Santa's youngest son Arthur, who'll do anything to get young Gwen Hines a present on Christmas morning after she's accidentally missed by Santa's high-tech delivery system.It's a movie that comments on inter-generational conflict, inheritance, our reliance on technology and loss of tradition, as well as our own egotistical behaviours, but mostly it's about the true meaning of Christmas - compassion, family, belief and the joy of giving.It's also gorgeous and very British, courtesy of the genius of Aardman Animation.Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!PS I swear I was not drunk during recording! Also, Jess was around for editing.I would love to hear your thoughts on Arthur Christmas! You can get in touch onTwitter @verbaldioramaInstagram @verbaldioramaFacebook @verbaldioramaYouTube @verbaldioramaLetterboxd @verbaldioramaor you can email me general hellos, feedback or suggestions:verbaldiorama [at] gmail [dot] comThank you to our Patreon Producer Sade and patrons Simon, Jardiel and Claudia for supporting Verbal Diorama! To support the show on Patreon from just $2 a month, have a look over at https://www.patreon.com/verbaldiorama and choose your KeanuYou can rate or review the show in iTunes or at Apple Podcasts and I'd very much appreciate that!My website is at https://verbaldiorama.comTheme Music: Verbal Diorama Theme SongMusic by Chloe Enticott - Compositions by Chloe FacebookLyrics by Chloe Enticott (and me!)Production by Ellis Powell-Bevan of Ewenique Studios.
Constantine
Keanu Reeves is often criticised for not "acting" enough in his movies. He may not be the John Constantine of comic book fans dreams, but with his literal devil-may-care attitude and cynical despondence on full display, I think he pretty much nails this John Constantine - a man at the end of his life, desperate to save enough souls from damnation so he can go to Heaven after a teenage suicide attempt leaves him with no option but to go to Hell.Pair him with Rachel Weisz, (a woman who could make a movie of herself cooking eggs and I'd watch it), and her effervescent charm, it really is great to watch them together.Religious subtexts aside, this is a movie about faith in humanity too. John's faith is restored by his dealings with Weisz's bereaved police detective Angela Dodson and although he becomes a hero, it's not really about his journey to heroism, more about giving the finger to authority and doing the right thing.Listen, I know you know how much I loved Dredd for its ability to adapt its source material so effectively, and Constantine is not without source material (and a more faithful TV show), but if this movie was called anything else, it wouldn't be as derided as it unfortunately was. It still looks good after 15 years, and while some of the performances stand out as being less than hellblazing (I'm looking at you Gavin Rossdale!), Keanu's is pretty great actually - and I'm not the only person who thinks so (thankfully!)I would love to hear your thoughts on Constantine! You can get in touch onTwitter @verbaldioramaInstagram @verbaldioramaFacebook @verbaldioramaYouTube @verbaldioramaLetterboxd @verbaldioramaor you can email me general hellos, feedback or suggestions:verbaldiorama [at] gmail [dot] comThank you to our Patreon Producer Sade, patrons Simon and Jardiel and new patron Claudia for supporting Verbal Diorama! To support the show on Patreon from just $2 a month, have a look over at https://www.patreon.com/verbaldiorama and choose your Keanu (John Constantine is an option!!)You can rate or review the show in iTunes or at Apple Podcasts and I'd very much appreciate that!My website is at https://verbaldiorama.comThanks to the following for their contributions to this episode:Twitter peeps@WooLongTalks@FilmbustersPaul@MoviesWork@movievirginspod@Capt_Hangry@kevin_thecritic@NerdsWithFriend@simon_exton@trivia_chic@tepidville@ComicsinMotionP@JRSP_1978@nle318@RobWadeVision@lukesolo73Instagram folk@talesofpeckTheme Music: Verbal Diorama Theme SongMusic by Chloe Enticott - Compositions by Chloe FacebookLyrics by Chloe Enticott (and me!)Production by Ellis Powell-Bevan of Ewenique Studios.
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Stats
Location
UK
Episode Count
39
Podcast Count
8
Total Airtime
1 day, 22 hours