To celebrate the release of The Walking Dead Season 7 on Blu-ray/DVD, we're giving you the chance to win 1 of 3 Blu-rays. How do you enter for your chance to win? Well i'm glad you asked, simply click here to head over to our Facebook page, follow the entry details and that's that. Couldn't be simpler.

Rick’s group will find out yet again that the world isn’t what they thought it was. It’s much bigger than anything they’ve seen so far. While they have a singular purpose - to defeat Negan - it won’t come easy. More importantly, victory will require more than Alexandria. They need the numbers of the Kingdom and the Hilltop, but, similar to how Rick felt, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Gregory (Xander Berkeley) do not want bloodshed. To convince them otherwise will take more than speeches. The lengths Rick and the group will have to go to in order to find weapons, food and new fighters is nothing short of remarkable.


The Walking Dead Season 7 available from Wednesday the 27th of September.

- Stu 

Life is Strange: Before the Storm (hereafter just referred to as "Storm" for brevity of word count) is the kind of prequel which will produce two responses. One will be distinct for those who've played the original game, and thus experience the prequel with knowledge of what's to come. The other will render a story for those who've never played Life is Strange before. Unlike most examples of prequels, in any medium, those responses will probably be vastly different.


So to that end, I'm reviewing this game twice. First, for those who have no idea what the hell Life is Strange is, and secondly - with spoilers - for those who do. If you're just looking for a brief summation on my thoughts: I enjoyed it to a point, and am tentatively awaiting the next episode.


FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T PLAYED LIFE IS STRANGE

 

Chloe Price is your average sixteen-year-old. She's skipping school, mouthing off to her mum's new boyfriend, breaking curfew to see a rock band at an abandoned sawmill, and having awkward conversations with Rachel Amber, the hot popular girl at school. One day, Rachel suggests she and Chloe cut class and go on an adventure. What could possibly go wrong?


Storm's first episode is fairly brief, even for an episodic adventure game. The bulk of the story follows Chloe and Rachel's Excellent Adventure, and the things they learn about each other during that adventure. It's a promising beginning for what's set up as a three-part story, with an intriguing sequel hook that most won't see coming.

Where the game excels, particularly in its serving as a prequel installment, is how effortlessly it accommodates new players in the world of Life is Strange. Though there are references to the original here and there, Storm largely stands alone, presenting a story that's accessible and engaging regardless of your franchise knowledge. Considering some of my memory of the original - which I experienced nearly two years ago - had gone quite fuzzy, it was reassuring to know that Storm is a largely pick-up-and-play part of the puzzle. (I do, however, reserve the right to change this opinion depending on how the next two episodes unfold.)


Whether you dig it or not is going to depend on your tolerance for minimalist mechanics and the story Storm goes with. Unlike contemporaries such as The Walking Dead or the recent Telltale Batman series, Storm offers little for players to do besides move and talk. The game is predominantly story-driven, largely through mechanics like conversation and dialogue choices; those who are after some complexity in their gameplay, even for an episodic adventure game, might find Storm's austere mechanics off-putting. If it weren't for some solid writing and a decent slate of voice actors (many of whom replace the original actors for returning characters thanks to the recent voice actors strike), the game would fall flat. Fortunately, for me at least, it doesn't.

As with any other episodic game, how well Storm succeeds will largely be dictated by what comes after. For now, though, its debut is a promising beginning full of emotional resonance, familial distress, and awkward teen dialogue.



FOR THOSE WHO HAVE PLAYED LIFE IS STRANGE - SPOILERS FOR THE ORIGINAL GAME FROM HERE ON OUT


The original Life is Strange still manages to produce extreme emotional ambivalence in me whenever I think of it. The game wasn't a trailblazer the way other episodic adventure games have been, and it was, in a word, awkward. Part of that came from the subject matter and characters being teenagers who spoke in cringe-inducingly awful lingo, but I nonetheless found many of those characters endearing by the end. Both of those Sophie's Choice-style endings still make me choke up (for the record, I went for sacrificing Chloe, one of the hardest narrative choices I've made since Mass Effect). I wouldn't say I loved Life is Strange, but by the end I definitely appreciated it for what it was, and felt utterly wrecked by its conclusions.


For the longest time, Storm seems like it's going to ignore its predecessor's preference for the fantastic. Sure, the original was still fairly grounded in terms of its plot and characters and never strayed into outright fantasy territory, but Max's use of her powers was a thread woven through things from the start, a thread that was slowly prioritised as the narrative progressed (kind of like Heroes, but if if it hadn't been written by a committee of idiots). By contrast, Storm spends nearly the entire first episode playing things comparably straight; in place of the ability to time travel through photos, Chloe's "special power" is the ability to hurl insults and verbally spar with her opponents. Rather than dealing with the burden of great power and the great responsibility that comes with it, Chloe's plot concerns her increasingly fraught family life, missing her best friend and exploring her burgeoning friendship with Rachel Amber. It's not until close to the end that the supernatural gets hinted at again, through a relatively unexpected means, which provides an interesting diving board to head into Episode 2 with.

Unfortunately, that interest is kneecapped by knowledge of the original game. Unless Storm takes the unlikely option of an Inglourious Basterds-style major departure from established canon, we know already that Chloe is doomed to either be killed in a bathroom or left as a shellshocked survivor of a town wrecked by a tornado. We know Rachel's going to end up dead and buried as a victim of the original game's killer. Any attempt at their building character arcs or seeking catharsis through overcoming flaws is hampered by just how bleak both of these lives are going to get. That's not even getting into other returning characters, like Frank and Chloe's stepdad, who similarly have arcs we're already aware of.


Now, I know that a prequel can still be engaging even if we know the destination, and even if that destination is a horrible one. X-Men: First Class managed this handily: we knew Erik Lehnsherr was going to become Magneto, no matter how much Michael Fassbender shared feelings James McAvoy, who hoped there was still good in him. But the journey in the prequel was a balance of optimism and apprehension, making it clear from the beginning that things would not be ending well whilst allowing for spaces of brevity, hope, and the hint of redemption. Things weren't driving towards a wholly nihilistic conclusion.


Though at times rendering a depiction of the bleakness of our teenage years, Storm nonetheless doubles down on attempts at connection and a better life. Near the episode's midpoint, Chloe and Rachel have a long conversation on a train which shows they're thinking of a better tomorrow. Neither want to stay in Arcadia Bay, and the connection they're forming - whether romantic or platonic - is what will spur each of them to achieve that dream of leaving to find something greater. Even after a falling out over something unexpected during their adventure, Chloe and Rachel's reconciliation again emphasises that the bond they're forming is crucial, healing and encouraging. That's a great place to start, even if the next two episodes fray or fracture that bond.

Trouble is, we know what will happen to that bond. Whether in this prequel or in the blank space between games, Rachel will die under tragic circumstances and Chloe will most likely follow suit. For fans of the first game, this feels like Life is Strange thumbs its nose at any kind of heartwarming hope one might get from Storm. Things will end badly, even if Storm doesn't entirely spell it out: if you've played before, you know what's coming, and it crosses the line from bittersweet to downright depressing.


And that's why my reaction is split in two. As its own thing, Storm is a great, if somewhat brief, start to an emotionally gripping episodic series. As a prequel to the original game, it's a nihilistic and somewhat nasty tease at the love that could be and the hope that is not.

- Chris


 

FOR NEW PLAYERS

FOR FANS OF THE ORIGINAL


Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Episode 1 is available for Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC now.

Review copy kindly supplied to Geek of Oz by Square Enix Australia.



My oh my where is the year going?! August is in the can, but luckily we were treated to a few absolute gems this month. Steven Soderbergh's Logan Lucky, David Lowery's A Ghost Story and William Oldroyd's Lady Macbeth are the new additions to my Top 10. 2017 is really shaping up as great year for cinema. Feel free to check out my Top 10 list as it has evolved throughout the year January, February, March, April, May, June and July

As always I'd love to hear what your favourite film of the year is. Sound off in the comments below or, hit me up on Twitter or come over and play on our Facebook page.

- Stu

Twitter - @stu_watches
Letterboxd - stu geekofoz 

Top 10 as of the end of August:

1. Land of Mine
2. Moonlight
3. Get Out
4. I am Not Your Negro
5. Call Me By Your Name
6. Dunkirk
7. Lady Macbeth 
8. Baby driver
9. A Ghost Story 
10. Logan Lucky

Films watched:

Lady Macbeth
Kiki, Love to Love
Wind River
Maudie
Logan Lucky
Valerian
Terminator 2: Judgement Day 3D
The Trip to Spain
Ghost Story 
The Dark Tower
Logan Lucky 
The Hitman's Bodyguard 
American Made
Killing Ground

The following piece contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season seven, so if you are not up to date then read on at your own risk!


If Game of Thrones’ action-packed season seven finale made anything clear, it’s that the dead are coming, oh boy are they coming. Accompanying the shambling army of the recently deceased - as well as the logic-defying-fire-breathing-undead-ice-dragon-thingy - will be a dramatic shift in the show’s focus. From here on out there will be no more leisurely conversations overlooking the sunny vistas of King’s Landing, significantly less political intrigue, and very little ambiguity as to what comes next. We stand at the beginning of GOT’s end game which we can only assume will be like The Walking Dead, but with more incest and C bombs.




This shift for the show primarily means a move toward a genuinely evil antagonist, rather than Cersei’s homespun brand of trying to maintain power no matter the cost. Sure, Cersei will no doubt continue to be a grade-A jerk but she is no longer top-dog when it comes to GOT’s biggest threats. That title now firmly belongs to the Night King; the frosty leader of the ever-encroaching army of the dead. Although this definitely raises the stakes of the show - which are now nothing less than the survival of all of humanity - the Night King himself isn’t a particularly interesting, engaging or even competent villain. Well, from what we have seen so far, anyway.


First up, let’s get the obvious thing out of the way: he’s as one-dimensional as they come. In a show full of complex characters, the Night King comes across as particularly bland. He’s blue, he’s cold and he has a hard-on for making humanity extinct. Yep, that seems to be just about all there is to him. Combine this with the fact that he is yet to say a word on-screen, and you have a baddie about as interesting as a bag of frozen peas.

The Night King’s apparent lack of diction also feels like a puzzling choice for a show that has built its reputation on tense conversations, shadowy plotting and political intrigue. Whereas other characters have shifting motives, he remains stoic and stalwart in his mission to annihilate anything that breathes. This begins to make the Night King feel less like a genuine character and more like a plot device; a manifestation of the story’s need for something big and bad to force the squabbling lords of Westeros to work together.


A great example of this came in season seven's sixth episode, ‘Beyond the Wall’, when the Night King killed Viserion, one of Daenery’s beloved dragons. To the surprise of almost no one, the episode ended with the Night King bringing Viserion back to life as what we can only assume is some sort of zombie dragon. What was somewhat more surprising was when, in the season seven finale ‘The Dragon and the Wolf’, he used his new reptilian pet to single-handedly bring down the Wall.


Although it made for some truly stunning television that puts most big-budget movies to shame, this Wall shattering sequence only highlighted how plot-y the Night King feels. Seriously, what the hell was the Night King’s plan for getting his horde of wights past the wall without his newly acquired dragon? Did he have a battering ram? Was he planning on using his undead minions to form a human pyramid? Or was he always planning on hedging his bets that a dragon - a cold blooded, previously extinct creature - would fly over the snowy north so he could kill it and bind it to his service?

From a logic standpoint they all seem like pretty rubbish plans, especially considering the Night King only got the opportunity to slay the dragon because everyone’s favourite northern dummy, Jon Snow, decided to dawdle and not just jump on a dragon and fly the hell out of the zombie-infested wasteland like a normal person.

And this brings me to my overall point: plot holes aside, the Night King fails as a villain because at no point in season seven did he actually act like a competent bad guy. For all his magical powers and cold blue stares, his grand plan for ending all of humankind doesn’t seem to extend past marching his zombie minions forward in a straight line; a plan that has only succeeded thus far due to mankind's inability to get its shit together.


So sure, he might look tough and occasionally throw an ice javelin, but under all the lore and special effects the Night King isn’t really a villain as much as he is a memorable figure in the shambling army of the dead. A familiar face in an otherwise faceless threat.

- Christof

Over 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war in the greatest human displacement since World War II. HUMAN FLOW, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact.

Captured over the course of an eventful year in 23 countries, the film follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretches across the globe in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Greece, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, and Turkey. HUMAN FLOW is a witness to its subjects and their desperate search for safety, shelter and justice: from teeming refugee camps to perilous ocean crossings to barbed-wire borders; from dislocation and disillusionment to courage, endurance and adaptation; from the haunting lure of lives left behind to the unknown potential of the future. HUMAN FLOW comes at a crucial time when tolerance, compassion and trust are needed more than ever.

HUMAN FLOW in cinemas DECEMBER 7, 2017




Episode 54! Stu and Billy are back at the flicks this week to watch American Made

American Madeis a biographical crime drama directed by Doug Liman (Swingers, Go, The Bourne Identity, and Edge of Tomorrow) and features Tom Cruise as Barry Seal.

The film is based on the life of Barry Seal, a former TWA pilot who became a drug smuggler in the 1980's for the Medellin Cartel, and was recruited later on by the CIA and DEA to provide intelligence.

The film also stars Sarah Wright, Domhnall Gleeson, Jayma Mays, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones, and many others.

As well as the films, Stu and I discuss what else we've been watching this week, and look over the latest in movie news.

As always it would make our day if you could take a couple of minutes to rate and reviews us on iTunes or drop us some feedback below! Really keen to have your input in the show.

Enjoy!





                                      Get it from Whooshkaa here


                                            Get it from Itunes here



If you want to engage with Stu and Billy more you can do so at the following: 
Stu
Twitter - https://twitter.com/stu_watches
Letterboxd - https://letterboxd.com/stucoote/

Billy
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Aqualec
Letterboxd - https://letterboxd.com/aqualec/





Think you’ve got what it takes to be a trained assassin? Put your skills to the test to win an incredible round-the-world trip thanks to a groundbreaking new Facebook chatbot game, to celebrate the Australian release of AMERICAN ASSASSIN.

Available now, the AMERICAN ASSASSIN chatbot game works exclusively in Facebook Messenger and can be accessed by searching in Facebook for ‘Ghost SH’ or by going to http://m.me/Gh0stSH on your phone. Players immerse themselves in the world of assassin training by being put through a series of challenges designed to test their dexterity, perception, language, attention, ethics and mental agility.

As players progress through the game, more complex and challenging puzzles await them, as well as the chance to win a grand prize of a round-the-world trip for two worth $30,000. Would-be assassins are encouraged to hone their skills before being assessed and ranked against other recruits around the country. The prize includes stays at many of the iconic locations the movie was filmed in, including LA, London and Rome. The lucky winner will also be put through their paces through a variety of exciting AMERICAN ASSASSIN themed activities, including weapons training with the Green Berets.


The AMERICAN ASSASSIN chatbot game was developed by full-service digital agency Isobar Australia, in collaboration with the film’s distributor Roadshow Films. The game offers an unrivaled experience when it comes to immersive Facebook Messenger chatbot gaming and is an Australian-first, in terms of both sheer scale and prizing. 

Starring Dylan O’Brien (Maze Runner), Michael Keaton (Batman) and Taylor Kitsch (Lone Survivor), AMERICAN ASSASSIN follows the rise of Mitch Rapp, a CIA black ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley. The pair is then enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy to investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on both military and civilian targets. Together the three discover a pattern in the violence leading them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent to stop a mysterious operative intent on starting a World War in the Middle East.

AMERICAN ASSASSIN in cinemas SEPTEMBER 14





The Geek of Oz team firmly believe that all love is equal and we support Marriage Equality.

Many of our extended family, friends, and followers are fellow geeks and also part of the LGBTQI+ community. Sadly though in Australia, Marriage Equality is not available to the LGBTQI+ community.

Every member of the team personally feels that marriage is something that should be shared equally amongst everyone from all walks of life. The majority of Australians and many MPs in Parliament also believe this.

People know that in Australia we have values of a fair go and respect for all, and Marriage Equality is intrinsic to those values.

Around the world more than twenty countries have passed laws to allow Marriage Equality, including the United States of America, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and Great Britain. As seen in those countries, the world did not end when Marriage Equality was achieved.

If Marriage Equality is achieved in Australia, the sanctity of marriage will be fine, and the religious freedoms of people will not be taken away. Essentially if you’re a heterosexual person it won’t negatively impact your lives at all; the fear-mongering about this, seen in the Media and on Social Media, is ridiculous and unfounded.

The only thing that will change is that those in the LGBTQI+ community, your family, friends, and fellow geeks, will all have the ability to marry the person they love.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will be conducting the upcoming Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey to determine where the Australian public stands on the issue of Marriage Equality.

Today is the last day to enrol to vote or change your details on the electoral roll; make sure your vote is counted in this important debate.

Check your enrolment here

Enrol to Vote here

You have until Midnight tonight to confirm your details, and it takes all of 5 minutes to do so. If you do one thing today, please make sure you are enrolled to have your say before it’s too late.

We look forward to the day where everyone is able to marry the person they love.

Regards,




Billy, Stu, Christof and Chris
The Geek Of Oz Team


Episode 53! Stu and Billy are back at the flicks this week to watch Logan Lucky, as well as discuss Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets!

Logan Lucky is a heist comedy directed by Steven Soderbergh (Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Out of Sight, Oceans Trilogy, and Erin Brockovich) and features an ensemble cast of Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Daniel Craig, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes, Hilary Swank, Katherine Waterston, and Sebastian Stan.

The film follows the three Logan siblings as they plan to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Coca-Cola 600.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a sci-fi action adventure film directed by Luc Besson (Nikita, Leon: The Pofessional, The Fifth Element, and Lucy). The film is based on the French sci-fi comic series Valerian and Laureline, written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Claude Mezieres.

It stars Dane DeHaan as Valerian and Cara Delevingne as Laureline, two special operatives in the 28th century charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories. When a dark force threatens Alpha, the City of a Thousand Planets, the duo must race against the clock to identify the menace that also jeopardizes the rest of the universe.

As well as the films, Stu and I discuss what else we've been watching this week, and look over the latest in movie news.

As always it would make our day if you could take a couple of minutes to rate and reviews us on iTunes or drop us some feedback below! Really keen to have your input in the show.

Enjoy!





                                      Get it from Whooshkaa here


                                            Get it from Itunes here



If you want to engage with Stu and Billy more you can do so at the following: 
Stu
Twitter - https://twitter.com/stu_watches
Letterboxd - https://letterboxd.com/stucoote/

Billy
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Aqualec
Letterboxd - https://letterboxd.com/aqualec/





Is Terminator 2: Judgement Day a perfect film? Can any film really be “perfect”? These questions swirled around my head whilst watching Cameron’s masterpiece in a recent 3D screening. Sure I’ve got some niggling quibbles here and there; but as far as a cinematic experience, I think it might be perfect. Maybe it’s the nostalgia speaking, but Terminator 2: Judgement Day resides in the pantheon of perfection alongside such gods as The Empire Strikes Back, Alien/Aliens, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones (minus the Crystal Skull) and a few more. These are the films which not only defined an era of my life, but defined what I wanted from going to the movies. With every subsequent entry in the Terminator franchise, we’ve seemingly drifted further and further away from the genius that is Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day 3D returns to cinemas from the 24th of August for one week only. Should you go see it? You’re damn straight you should. I’m not the biggest fan of 3D films, but there’s enough here to warrant a watch. Admittedly the 3D didn’t add that much to the experience, given that the film wasn’t produced with 3D in mind. For me it simply added depth to the screen and layered feel that wasn't there before. But this is Terminator 2: Judgement Day! It’s one of the greatest films of the past 30 years, a film which defined the marriage of physical effects and practical storytelling. You probably won’t get a chance to see it on the big screen after this release. If this were Total Recall Arnie would be telling you to “get your ass to Mars”, well i’m telling you to get your ass out to the cinema.

I don’t need to tell you how amazing Terminator 2: Judgement Day is; but in 3D it’s like when Malibu Stacy got a new hat. Doesn’t sound like much, but IT”S A NEW HAT! Don’t tell me you’re not craving that sweet sweet new hat.

I want to know what you consider a perfect movie. Please sound off in the comments below, or pop over and play on our Facebook page.

- Stu


TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY 3D, hitting cinemas August 24 for a limited season – one-week-only!