We here at Geek of Oz love a good film poster. So we thought we highlight some our favourites we've spotted around the inter-webs of late. Hope you enjoy. What are some of your favourites?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (dir James Gunn)


Kong: Skull Island (dir Jordan Vogt-Roberts)




Free Fire (dir Ben Wheatley)




Logan (dir James Mangold)




Alien Covenant (dir Ridley Scott)




Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (dir Martin McDonagh)



The Love Witch (dir Anna Biller)




Rogue One (dir Gareth Edwards)



Episode 39! Stu and Billy are back this week to discuss Power Rangers!

Power Rangers is a film based on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series. It is directed by Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) and written by John Gatins (Coach Carter, Real Steel, Kong: Skull Island).

In the film five teenagers with attitude come together by coincidence/destiny to become the Power Rangers, warriors who are to defend the Earth from any threat.

The world rest in these teenagers hands as Rita Repulsa, an intergalactic witch and former Green Ranger, launches an attack on Earth seeking the Zeo Crystal with her army of Putties and giant gold monster Goldar.

Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, and Ludi Lin star as the Power Rangers. Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, and Elizabeth Banks also star as Alpha 5, Zordon, and Rita Repulsa.

As well as the film, 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 Podomatic here

                                            Get it from Itunes here



Back when Wonderland Sydney was still standing, I went on a rollercoaster. It was good, but on reflection maybe a bit basic. The way it worked was it plodded up a peak, then went down quite smoothly before going up another peak, then it entered a fast decline all the way to the exit.

In many ways, Strange the Dreamer feels a lot like that rollercoaster. It starts a bit slow, gets better as it heads to the first peak (in this case, an end-of-first-act plot payoff), then quickly and decisively goes straight down all the way to the end. But while the rollercoaster's downward slope was exhilarating and energetic, Strange the Dreamer's decline is rather the opposite.

Long ago, a war between gods and men ended with the former getting slaughtered by the latter. In their death throes, the gods stole the true name of what is now known as Weep, a mystical city of fantastic creatures and powerful magic. Seemingly lost to history, Weep is now only important to historians, archivists, and Lazlo Strange, an orphan who has himself had his true name taken from him. Working with some dusty librarians, Lazlo becomes fascinated with the mystery of Weep, its lost name and its absence from the world. While others dismiss Lazlo's fascination as a mere curiosity, they're all shocked when a number of Weep's inhabitants give Lazlo the chance to see the city up close. Along with several others, Lazlo is taken to Weep in order to solve a very unique, and potentially deadly problem.

Strange the Dreamer's intriguing premise is ultimately not lived up to by its execution. The narrative traces three protagonists at the centre of Weep's problem, all of whom are bound by the theme of discovery. Lazlo ventures to Weep to see the city he's spent his life loving through stories; Sarai, one of the last remaining children of the gods, worries how much longer she and her kin can remain hidden from the humans who would kill them if found; Eril-Fane, publicly beloved hero of Weep, is uncertain what he will find when he returns to his home, following years of personally reconciling his actions in the last battle against the gods. The characters are somewhat well-defined and, particularly in Sarai's case, immediately compelling.

The plot takes a little while to get going, after stuttering through some awkward opening chapters which mainly overemphasise how Strange - the eponymous Dreamer - is a good-hearted lad who is consistently isolated from his peers and his betters. Things don't really take off until Eril-Fane and his Tizerkane warriors arrive to invite Lazlo to see Weep. The pace accelerates when it introduces Sarai and her intriguing brethren, their situation illustrating that maybe not all of the gods needed to be killed. The propulsive end of the first act sees Lazlo reach Weep, find out the problem, and immediately realise he has no clue how to fix it. Everything's tense and exciting.

Then it all goes off the rails because a boy meets a girl.

Actually, that may be an overly-dramatic critique. Though it becomes frustrating, Strange the Dreamer doesn't become a bad book, but it certainly loses a lot of the goodwill it built with its opening and the initial premise. You see, not long after Lazlo enters Weep, the story falls victim to one of my most loathed YA tropes when it swiftly pairs Lazlo and Sarai as lovers. The climax of the story - both on an emotional and narrative level - hinges almost entirely on the "love" that they share, after knowing each other for a matter of days, I might add. Because of this, it all falls completely flat.

I'm all for a good romance in a story, be it YA or otherwise. Leigh Bardugo's excellent duology Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom - the latter of which was one of my favourite books of last year - had an excellent pair of romances (and a third, fairly decent one) which developed organically over the course of both books. Part of that success stemmed from defining each character as a person first, and one half of a relationship second. It's true that the characters knew each other before we met them in Six of Crows, so the narrative success of those relationships did hinge in part on their shared backstories. But for the most part, the romances earn an emotional connection with the reader by sensibly showing who these people were, and arguing for why they would work well together because of the personalities they had established. Bardugo took meticulous care to establish our protagonists and their connection to one another before throwing the L word around.

Laini Taylor gets the first part right in Strange the Dreamer, with Lazlo and Sarai being compelling characters whose personalities are well articulated throughout the first act. Unfortunately, the interesting characterisations of our protagonists fly out the window as soon as they start loving on each other. Lazlo is so enamoured with Sarai that he can barely think of anything else, whilst Sarai can only really think of how she can be with Lazlo once the conflict between gods and men is settled. A lot of the prior plot regarding solving Weep's problem becomes entwined - and, in some cases, superseded - with Lazlo's "love" for Sarai, and vice versa. The book wants you to know that their love is sacred and wonderful, that their relationship is the emotional lynchpin of the whole thing, and it wants to take its time in establishing that fact. An uncomfortable standout passage for me was when Lazlo and Sarai kiss for the first time, and we're treated to two pages of flowery, highly cliche and, if I'm honest, discomfiting prose describing the act. As a result, a lot of the book following this development becomes glurgey, overly saccharine and, unfortunately, almost wholly unenjoyable for me.

Compounding this issue is the sheer amount of padding Taylor uses to get character motivations and plot developments across after the first act. Little is said in this book without an accompanying page of internal exposition laying out, in no uncertain terms, what has just happened. For example, a significant event occurs two-thirds of the way through the book; the moment itself is exciting, but the aftermath consists of one character, who was at the heart of this event, literally sitting in a room and mulling over what just happened in their head for several pages. No dialogue, just a character sitting with introspection for many paragraphs of go-nowhere internal pontificating. This is after what feels like a lengthy and somewhat tired second act, where a lot of the page count is taken up by similar forms of ruminating and hand-wringing. In some places, it almost feels as if Taylor distrusts the reader to work out character feelings and motivations for themselves, relying on copious telling whilst compromising the showing beforehand.

In turn, the padding forms the basis of the long, downward slope I mentioned at the start. I feel like Taylor had a great idea for what needed to happen once Lazlo gets to Weep, and to its credit the book did a great job detailing how Lazlo is integrated into Weep society through his stay with Eril-Fane's mother. But this idea wasn't enough to carry Lazlo through the last two acts of the book. When I wrote the first draft of this review, mere hours after finishing the book, I struggled to recall anything plot-related that happened between Lazlo's arrival and the end of the story outside of the glurgey romance, and a couple of interesting yet all too brief interludes with one of the main antagonists. It's not a point in a book's favour when a lot of my recollection of its ostensible protagonist becomes white noise almost immediately after. Sarai and Eril-Fane don't fare much better once the romance subplot consumes all else, with the latter in particular fading somewhat into the background until the book surges towards its third act climax.

Despite my criticisms above, I must stress that Strange the Dreamer is by no means a bad book. If you want bad, go read something inane like Down Station. This is merely disappointing because of a combination of padding and the plot's almost complete surrender to the romance narrative. The world of Weep is a fantastic, fleshed out environ thanks to Taylor's worldbuilding, highlighted by great places like the Cusp, a mound made of melted demon bones, and the toothy nightmares of the sand-dwelling threaves. The society of Weep is well-realised, and the backstory of Sarai and her godspawn kin is fascinating. This has all the makings of what should've been an impressive, memorable fantasy classic, and to some it might well be. Unfortunately, for me at least, it's just a let-down.

- Chris



Strange the Dreamer is available in bookstores from March 27.

Review copy kindly supplied to Geek of Oz by Hachette Australia.

THE SHORT VERSION

 

Comparisons between Nier Automata and Horizon Zero Dawn may be inevitable, but not wholly accurate. Though the two games emerged at roughly the same time, the former is a tightly-focused and coherent single character journey across a well-paced and thoughtfully written plot.

Nier: Automata is...a little different.



THE SLIGHTLY LONGER VERSION 


In a post-apocalyptic future with the drabbest colour palette ever conceived, humanity is attacked by aliens. The resulting conflict wipes humanity from the face of the Earth, relegating the survivors to a colony on the moon. To defend them, the humans commission a number of androids in the YoRHa initiative to reclaim Earth from the aliens and their swarm of robots who now occupy the planet. One of these androids, 2B, teams up with another android, 9S, to defend humanity and learn more about the alien threat. The plot quickly spirals out from that point.


To call the story of Nier: Automata absolutely loopy is to call the Grand Canyon a little wide. There's an underlying thread of the standard post-apocalyptic "reclaim the Earth" plot that a lot of games - including, yes, Horizon Zero Dawn - have capitalised on recently. But woven around that thread are philosophical themes of obsolescence, legacy, rebirth, evolution, identity, purpose and (most aptly) repetition, the latter of which is borne out through the multiple playthroughs needed to complete the game. The overlapping narrative and thematic strands can be thrilling and thoughtful, with a lot of them converging as the plot barrels towards its endgame. For vast tracts before the game gets going, though, it comes across as somewhat alienating, both for its inherent weirdness and the number of plates it's attempting to keep spinning simultaneously. On top of that, in the tradition of similar mind-screw games like Undertale and Pony Island, one of Nier: Automata's hallmarks is its ability to disrupt player expectations. I'd be remiss to detail most of the ways the game manages to mess with the player - including one which feels like a subtle shout-out to Journey - but ultimately, you should expect that there will be times that the fourth wall will not protect you. If nothing else, Nier: Automata dares to dream when it comes to subverting player assumptions and the use of the video game medium.


For the majority of the game, 2B is one of the most uninteresting protagonists I've ever inhabited. Her muted, somewhat soulless android nature makes her almost impossible to relate to, with the bulk of the initial emotional weight carried by her companion 9S. A game doesn't have to have a main character who fits us like an emotional glove for it to excel - others, such as Half-Life, work well in having almost no inherent characterisation for the protagonist - but in a story which relies on cathartic payoff at several key moments, it's rare for me to feel the kind of emotional reaction that the game obviously intends me to have due to how disassociative 2B feels. The game's latter half handles this player-character connection much better, but for a lot of the early going I felt more sympathy for my sidekick 9S and the somewhat better-defined robots we were fighting, rather than for the protagonist I was piloting. 2B's blatant oversexualisation also doesn't help. There is literally an achievement for looking up her insultingly short hemline ten times (though she pushes the player camera away when you try, for what it's worth). There is also an action you can take, which I won't spoil, that allows you to do every mission in the game with your dress ripped off, leaving 2B in the top half of a black leotard and a skin-tight white mankini which shows off her (as heralded by the game's director himself) lovingly rendered buttocks. When this issue was brought up in pre-release, Yoko Taro's justification that the game is artistic and "niche" rang quite hollow. Even when taking the game as being strongly influenced by anime - something also brought up frequently to defend some of the game's stylistic choices - I still felt uncomfortable playing with that aspect.


But as much as I don't count 2B as one of gaming's most gripping or progressive protagonists, I have to admit that Nier: Automata has some of the most effective worldbuilding in recent memory. The game does its best through minimal infodumps to orient the player to the YoRHa's mission, sparingly using cutscenes and character dialogue without becoming didactic. The conflict between the androids and robots is setup quite well, even the locales they do battle in are largely unmemorable. The sole exception is an amusement park discovered early on, whose novelty is enough to salvage the previous few hours of trudging around a dull, bombed-out city. The inherent narrative mechanics of how 2B and the androids carry out their missions - such as the gravity-based sword holsters which make weapons hover behind her back, or the body-storing machines which act as save points - are similarly intriguing and well-designed.


Going hand in hand with the above, the literal gameplay mechanics are as smooth as planed wood. Combat is swift and simple to enter, with 2B making use of a sword (with two kinds of attack), a secondary weapon and her floating Pod robot, which is capable of firing charge lasers and bullet-hell-style streams of projectiles at enemies. 2B's armament is customised by chipsets which determine the passive and active abilities she can use, as well as the elements that will appear on your HUD. Don't want to see the ammo counter or your health meter? Yank the chips out to your heart's content. Do be careful, though, since there's an Operating System chip you can remove which will literally kill you where you stand. As I mentioned above, the game screws with the player a bit.


At its core, Nier: Automata is an intelligent, robot-slashing, innovative and, at times, pulpy meditation on the post-apocalypse, the use of machines as human substitutes, and the necessity of purpose. Its weirdness is matched only by its tenacity, its frustrating elements balanced by engrossing ones, and its missteps topped by its bold strides.

- Chris



Nier: Automata is available now for Playstation 4 and PC.

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


Episode 38! Stu and Billy are back this week to discuss A Cure For Wellness!

A Cure For Wellness is psychological horor/thriller film directed by Gore Verbinski (The first 3 Pirates of the Caribbean films, The Lone Ranger, The Ring remake).

In the film Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) is a Wall Street stockbroker who has been to retrieve his company's CEO, Pembroke (Harry Groener), from an idyllic but mysterious wellness center in a remote location in the Swiss Alps 

Lockhart soon suspects that the miraculous treatments the patients are receiving and the center's Dr Heinreich Volmer (Jason Isaacs) are not what they seem. He sanity is soon test when he begin to unravel the mystery surrounding the Wellness Center.

The film also features Mia Goth, Adrian Schiller, Celia Imrie, Ashok Mandanna, Tomas Norstrom, Carl Lumbly, and Lisa Banes.

As well as the film, 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 Podomatic here

                                            Get it from Itunes here





Episode 37! Stu and Billy are back this week to discuss Get Out!

Get Out is a written, produced, and directed by Jordon Peele (Key & Peele) in his Directorial debut.

In the film Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), are preparing a weekend trip upstate to meet her parents, Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener). 

Chris initially reads the family's overly accommodating behaviour as nervousness about Rose being in an interracial relationship. However as the weekend progresses a series of increasing disturbing occurrences leads him to question things.

The film also features Caleb Alndry Jones, Lil Rel Howery, Betty Gabriel, Marcus Henderson, LaKeith Stanfield, Stephen Root, and Erika Alexander.

As well as the film, 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 Podomatic here

                                            Get it from Itunes here



THE SHORT VERSION


Gorgeous post-apocalyptic vistas, unique creature designs and an engrossing, personal plot combine to forge one of the best games of the last decade, and certainly the best exclusive offering for the PS4.


It's pretty, it's got a good story, and you fight robot dinosaurs with a spear.

THE SLIGHTLY LONGER VERSION


Horizon Zero Dawn's concept ultimately boils down to a strong, intelligently-written female protagonist killing bandits whilst battling mechanical beasts in a tribal, "Mad Max by way of that post-apocalypse story in Cloud Atlas" setting. I've certainly heard worse elevator pitches.


Humanity has slowly grown in the shadow of an apocalypse, now living in segregated pre-medieval tribes across the world. These tribes are threatened by deadly robot creatures, which infest the wild and spawn from an unknown source. Aloy, a motherless, martially-proficient young warrior born as an outcast to the Nora tribe, sets out into the world to unravel the mystery of her existence and, if she can, the whereabouts of her mother. Simultaneously, she seeks to uncover the truth behind an ancient conspiracy who are moving to crush the tribes of man for an unknown purpose, as well as where, why and how the machine creatures came to be.


I'm going to skip to the end here and say that there's a very good chance Horizon will end up as my game of the year. I've seen a lot of the upcoming slate for 2017, and it'll be tough for any other narrative-driven, exploration-heavy, visually gorgeous and sonically sleek game to top the kinds of achievements Horizon does. The story is engrossing. The world-building is top notch and visually spectacular. The mechanics and sidequests are smartly designed and articulated. It was so good that I even wrote an analysis of how the game excels in its depiction of gender equality (yay for shameless self-promotion!). It is, in my semi-professional opinion, a bloody good game.


The chief reason for this is that Horizon takes existing video game ideas and builds upon them, honing them to a razor-edge and deploying them strategically. There's little to it which is innovative per se. The sprawling map and prolific collectibles have the explorative quality of the Assassin's Creed games, the ability to use Focus vision to see important items and objectives calls up the Batman: Arkham series' Detective Vision, combat mechanics favour a hybrid of Far Cry, Tomb Raider and Uncharted influences, and the story fuses elements of Mass Effect, Bioshock and the Fallout games, with a healthy dose of The Witcher 3 mixed in. On paper, it's a hodgepodge of fingers taken from many pies, combined in a tin and baked until warm. But those familiar flavours, each distinctly its own thing while simultaneously merging into the whole experience, are what give the game so much magnetism.


Aloy's story, which is at first blush a fairly standard post-apocalypse yarn, unfolds in some truly surprising ways, thanks in large part to its delivery method. Walking the post-apocalyptic landscape, battling robot dinosaurs (or occasionally hacking them into your service), and uncovering the secrets of the world before are aspects which are all simply delivered yet superbly done. The visual design of the robots is exceptional and unique, a gorgeous fusion of the cleanliness of Mass Effect with the dirty, used future feel of the Matrix films; my personal favourite is the Sawtooth, a massive cat with a telltale footfall which invariably signals impending doom to those who hear it. The land they walk upon crosses a variety of biomes; Aloy begins in a snowy, forest area, before her journey takes her to places like Meridian - an Aztec-themed city of the sun - and Pitchcliff - a rugged vista of rolling highland hills.


The battles against the robots use streamlined controls, with Aloy employing a trusty spear alongside a variety of bows, rope-throwers, trap-layers, salvaged miniguns and - no joke - a bloody fireworks cannon.  If that last one doesn't get you hyped for combat, I have no idea what will. The game does have a slight problem in its overloading of your pack with so many useless upgrade materials - called "weaves" - leaving you to pick and choose what stays and what needs to go to make room for better stuff. I'm also not convinced that any of the elemental damage types beyond fire are of much use, since the robots seem to shake off frost and tear attacks quite easily. When it comes to human enemies, it's also much simpler to go for normal arrow headshots. This also makes superfluous a lot of the elemental-based plants you collect; really, anything aside from healing herbs and the wood used to craft arrows just fill space in your inventory. Besides, you need to make room for all the robot eyes and machine cores you'll require for getting the best loot from local traders.



The sidequests and collectibles are too numerous to categorically list. Notable ventures include a hunt for ancient vessels (which are actually ancient coffee mugs), combat trials, and infiltration and puzzle-solving in manufacturing plants in order to hack bigger machines. The best, though, is probably the quests involving Tallnecks, giant giraffe-style machines with USS Enterprise saucer sections instead of heads. The Tallnecks represent the usual "climb a tower to unlock parts of the map" sidequests of other sandbox games, like Far Cry and Assassin's Creed. The big difference here, of course, is that the towers move, making a mechanic which is usually repetitive and dull feel like a more action-packed update of Shadow of the Colossus. Per its Witcher 3 influence, the game also takes time to flesh out the narrative sidequests as more than just pit stops which detract from the overarching narrative; most of them have their own mini-plots which help flesh out the larger world of Horizon, making them almost feel as vital to the story as the main plot itself.


On a technical level, Horizon is the first game I've played where I feel the graphical capacity of the PS4 has been fully utilised. The map unfolds without much issue, frame rates are consistent and only drop when there are a ton of creatures on-screen, and loading times upon death are blessedly brief (keep in mind I'm playing on a vanilla PS4, so I can only imagine how much fun PS4 Pro players get to have with this). The facial animation does reside in the middle of the uncanny valley - a criticism others have passed off as having narrative purpose, but I personally don't buy it - but the motion-captured expressions and movements make the characters feel much more realistic. But above all of this is the highly-detailed landscape, which I really cannot praise enough for the way it immerses the player in the prettiest post-apocalypse I've ever seen. If you had to weather the aftermath of a robot dinosaur Ragnarok, you could certainly end up in far less picturesque locales.


I've always preferred to see my game review scores as less a mark of perfection and more an indication of the level of quality the game demonstrates. My review score doesn't mean Horizon Zero Dawn is a perfect game (since it's not Crash Bandicoot 2 or Baldur's Gate), but that it is one worth the praise it gets because it does almost everything it does to the highest quality. It's a fantastic story in a gorgeously-realised future realm, with some of the most imaginative creature designs I've ever seen. As I noted above, the game lacks strong innovation, but it excels in taking existing action and RPG tropes, polishing them to a mirror shine and using them to build a tightly-designed machine. It's the rare kind of game I think about playing for long stretches when I should be doing other things.

In fact, why aren't I doing that now? Excuse me.

- Chris


Horizon Zero Dawn is available now for Playstation 4.
Way back in 2010, celebrated video game critic, acerbic host of Zero Punctuation and permanent cynic Yahtzee Croshaw released Mogworld. His first published novel through Dark Horse Books, Mogworld was a delightful, parodic send-up of MMORPGs like World of Warcraft coupled with a surprisingly emotional "what measure is a man"-style plot about the life of a video game NPC. This welcome debut was followed two years later by Jam, a black comedy involving a bunch of everyday schlubs who had to navigate government conspiracies, a devastated inner city Brisbane and a flood of carnivorous, man-eating strawberry jam. Both books had heart, even if the jade-coloured glasses were still wrapped around them like cars on oak trees.

Yahtzee's third novel, Will Save The Galaxy For Food, is a decent enough successor to the above two novels. The book's - and, by extension, the author's - cynicism, however, is a bit off-putting.

In a future where instantaneous space travel has largely eroded the need for star pilots and their clunky piece-of-junk starships, a down-on-his-luck former space adventurer is recruited for a singular task. The job: impersonate one of the most famed (and infamous) star pilots in history, Jacques McKeown, in order to satisfy a powerful crime boss and his annoying teenage son. If he can pull it off, he'll have enough money to last a lifetime. If he can't, he'll be sleeping with the space-fishes.

If I had to distil the book into an X-meets-Y arrangement, I'd call it The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-meets-Futurama, with the merest pinch of Star Trek added for taste. Douglas Adams is the clearest influence for Yahtzee, judging by the askance sarcasm and subtle, condescending wit used throughout both the spoken dialogue and the McKeown impersonator's internal thoughts. There's also some Futurama-style skewering of contemporary sociopolitical movements and ideologies, as well as one or two veiled jabs at Yahtzee's home base of the video game industry. It's also clear the book has a rather irreverent perspective on how iconic sci-fi is viewed by contemporary audiences. If you can think of a classic sci-fi story - up to including B-grade stuff like Forbidden Planet - chances are good that the book will take a few shots at it. There are also some nicely apposite references to technological advancement at the expense of human labour, a relevant workforce issue which Yahtzee makes it very clear he's opposed to.

While all of this makes the book sound great - and make no mistake, it's a good book with quite a few laughs - the underlying issue is its cynicism. The opening section, where the McKeown impostor makes it bitterly clear that he and other star pilots have become obsolete since the glory days of space travel, establishes that the book's concerned with the darker side of nostalgia. It only goes downhill from there, with the impostor and other characters constantly drawing attention to the pitfalls of nostalgic reminiscence and the inability of pilots like the impostor to move from one life stage to the next. It initially feels like the book's setting itself up to be the kind of affirmative, life-changing narrative which is ultimately uplifting, where the protagonist learns how to not be inflexible in order to put nostalgia aside and to move on by story's end.

Without wishing to spoil, I'll just say that the book largely leans in the opposite direction instead. Life sucks, you will become obsolete if you live long enough, people will always try to exploit you and, most bleakly, there will rarely be a silver lining to any of it. Enjoy!

Admittedly, that cynicism is present more in the subtext of the story rather than the text itself. Those of you who, unlike me, don't read too much into things for a living will probably get more enjoyment from the book, which on the surface is a largely funny, suitably pulpy jaunt through space. As comedic as it is, though, the book does have an issue with how it treats female characters. Yahtzee's written humourless and manipulative women in his books before, sometimes with justified reasons - look at secret agent X in Jam as an example par excellance - but it feels like almost every female character here has something of a bitter shrew temperament about them. Most egregious is main character Penelope Warden, a po-faced, executive-level bureaucrat who literally takes every opportunity to figuratively screw over the McKeown impersonator for her own gains. Her ruthless attitude towards him would be entertaining - given that he's definitely no saint, and watching him get karmically shafted is amusing - but it soon becomes too frequent and mean-spirited, especially for somebody who is ostensibly the deuteragonist of the story. With the exception of put-upon Jemima, a young girl with a notable intergalactic heritage introduced later in the book, I found it hard to relate to any of the female characters largely because the story makes them come across as conniving, opportunistic and devoid of good nature, starkly contrasting a lot of the more reasonable male characters (and a few of the more reasonable sentient space blobs, too).

While Will Save The Galaxy For Food is an entertaining diversion, it's not quite at the same heights as the darkly comedic Jam or the marvelously irreverent Mogworld. If Yahtzee Croshaw's books were all hot beverages - mainly because I'm having one while I write this - then Mogworld would be a sweet, frothy and solidly-flavoured cappucino, whilst Jam would be a chai latte spiced up by some gunpowder green tea in order to make you snort out loud at inappropriate moments. In that vein, Will Save The Galaxy For Food is what appears to be a fairly lively latte dusted with cinnamon, but beneath the veneer of comforting milk and cream is one of the most bitter long blacks you've ever tasted. It's still good for those who are into that sort of thing, but others may have trouble swallowing it down.

- Chris


Will Save The Galaxy For Food is available in bookstores now.


Episode 36! Stu and Billy are back this week to discuss Logan!

Logan is a directed by James Mangold (Identity, Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuman, The Wolverine) and is the third and final Wolverine film which was spun off from the X-Men film series.

Set in the year 2029, a weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) cares for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) in a hide out on the Mexican border. Logan's attempts to keep away from the world are thrown up in the air when a young mutant, Laura (Dafne Keen), arrives on his doorstep pursed by dark forces.

The film also features Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, and Eriq La Salle

The discussion about Logan has some spoilers in it so please be warned.

As well as the film, 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 Podomatic here

                                            Get it from Itunes here




Well February has come and gone; not only has Moonlight taken out the Academy for Best Picture, it’s also still atop my top 10 list for the year. Quick, someone let Barry Jenkins know! My top four remains unchanged, however Hidden Figures, Toni Erdmann, T2 Trainspotting and Miss Sloane have all muscled their way into consideration. Just a reminder I’m running a rolling Top 10 list this year, with the results posted monthly. You can check out my list for January here

Love to hear how your year at the cinema is going. What’s the best film you’ve seen lately? Sound off in the comments below or come play along with us on our Facebook page.

- Stu

 February Top 10:

1. Moonlight
2. Jackie
3. Manchester by the Sea
4. Edge of Seventeen
5. Hidden Figures 
6. Toni Erdmann 
7. Rosalie Blum
8. Perfect Strangers
9. T2 Trainspotting 
10. Miss Sloane 

Films watched this month:

Gold
Silence
Singing in the Rain (1952)
Hidden Figures  
Fences
The Love Witch (2016)
Toni Erdmann 
Fences
The Great Wall
Silence
David Stratton: A Cinematic Life 
50 Shades Darker
Miss Sloane 
T2 Trainspotting