Alright ladies and gentlemen, this is the big one, it’s GOLDENEYE time!

On Saturday the 31st of January, 2015, it’ll be your turn to slip into a tuxedo, polish up your Walther PPK and order a stiff martini. As you get ready ready for battle as Press Play will be hosting a multi-team GoldenEye tournament. The night will also feature music from a selection of popular DJ’s and live art from Heidi Abraham, as well as prizes for best dressed (Cosplay/Retro themed). There will also be gaming consoles for casual gamers to partake in

The night will be sponsored by Red Bull, Kwencher Beer, and The Gamesmen, which means that there will be FREE beverages for punters

PRESS PLAY is a retro themed night that combines various forms of live entertainment: Gaming, music, art and fashion into one jam packed night of excitement.

PRESS PLAY @ SPECTRUM

34 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, 2010, NSW
Date: 31st January, 2015
Ticket Price: General Admission: $10.00 (GST inc) - Presale & OTD tickets available
Times: 7:30 PM – 1:00 AM

Click here for tickets https://qbar.iwannaticket.com.au/

For anyone wanting to get a team in for the tournament email the fine folks at Press Play at pressplayau@gmail.com or hit them up on Facebook Shabba Events


- Stu


My personal stash for podcasts I highly recommend checking out.


1. Film Junk 

Film Junk is my gateway drug into the podcasting arena. And I’m forever grateful. I first stumbled across it about seven years ago and have never looked back. The show is an hilarious blend of film reviews and, at times, slightly-too-revealing but very amusing anecdotes of its hosts Sean, Jay and Frank. This is the perfect show to keep you up-to-date with movie news and possibly broaden your film-watching horizons.



2. MAMO

MAMO is a podcast about movies and popular culture hosted by Matt Brown and Matt Price. These two fine gentlemen sit atop the wall of pop culture nonsense like sentries in the night, and are a subtle blend of Statler and Waldorf, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Colonel Jessup. Trust me folks, we want them on that wall, nay, we need them on that wall! For the princely sum of nothing, these two scalliwags will let you eavesdrop on their coffee shop chit chat about current cinema events. Guaranteed to bring a smile to your dial.


3. See You Next Wednesday

If you like your bitties itty and in a committee then, my friend, this is the podcast for you. Easily the funniest on this list and, to continue the narcotic metaphor, as addictive as crack. Join Dan, Casey and Greg as they digest the week that was in film news and music goings-on. This is the show where a single die roll decides the fate of the lads (well, at least the topic for discussion). The show consists of  several film reviews, an album review and plenty of other goodies for your listening pleasure.


4. Filmspotting

In this crowd, Filmspotting enters as the crusty Dean of the film school, but this is THE essential podcast for any cinephile that wants to listen to educated and insightful debates about recent releases. Hosts Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larson have an excellent chemistry and their arguments are sometimes more interesting than the very films which they are reviewing. I highly recommend Filmspotting to anyone who is looking to fill that void left by Margaret and David’s At the Movies television program.


5. The Dew Over

A newcomer in the podcasting world, but its making a hell of a splash. The show’s host Jamie Dew has assembled a ragtag bunch of bloggers and podcasting aficionados to go year by year, looking at the Academy Award winners for best film, to determine if the Academy was awarded justly or not. Perfect for the budding film historian who loves trawling through the archives to see if justice was served.



6 Rebel Force Radio

Simply put, Rebel Force Radio is your source for everything Star Wars. Hosts Jason Swank and Jimmy Mac are well entrenched on the Star Wars frontline, bringing you up-to-the-minute news. Their weekly show is chock full of interviews, insights and of course the weekly wisdom of Billy Dee Williams. This is the one-stop-shop for you Star Wars fans and what better time to jump on as we all begin the countdown to Episode 7? They also have a whole raft of spin off shows covering collectables, the music of John Williams (the oxygen of Star Wars), Star Wars: Rebels related shows and much, much more.

- Stu

If you feel like chiming in with your favourite podcast, feel free to drop a line below or come over to play on our Facebook page.


As the curtain comes down on 2014, Disney saves one of its best for last. Big Hero 6 is a gorgeously animated, action-packed superhero origins story with multi-generational appeal. Based upon a Marvel comic series by the same name, Big Hero 6 takes place in a futuristic city known as San Fransokyo, a merging of the geography and infrastructure of San Francisco with the other-worldly visual appeal of Tokyo.

Hiro (Ryan Potter) is a prodigious robot builder, who spends his time hustling for cash by entering his adorable (yet lethal) robots in illegal street fights, frequently bringing Hiro to the notice of the police. In an attempt to straighten Hiro out and unlock his true potential, his older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) introduces Hiro to his University colleagues. Tragedy strikes, however, and Hiro is forced to use his special skills in an entirely unforeseen manner and, with the help of a new friend named Baymax, rise up against a mysterious figure terrorising his city.

After their marvelous work with Frozen, Disney Animations take things to new and astonishing levels. While the character designs feel fresh and modern, the true standout is what they've accomplished in bringing San Fransokyo to life. The city is incredibly realised and utterly immersive, reframing the viewer as a wide-eyed tourist in a big new world. The attention to detail, even for split-second shots, is fantastic. I’m hoping that this is the start of a successful franchise, as I demand to see more of the city (you hear that Disney?!).

The seamless blending of Japanese and Western aesthetics flows nicely into the film’s overall handling of race themes, in that it doesn’t make a big deal about it. Most characters seem to be of mixed racial heritage, which the film treats without comment. It’s a great message for Disney to be sending out. Whilst this is film may appeal to younger boys, the film contains some really interesting female characters. They are tough, smart and independent heroes who don’t mind kicking butt. The film contains a great message for young girls: GoGo Tomago, voiced by Jamie Chung, is constantly telling her male counterparts to “woman up!” when she’s inspiring them to toughen up.

Just as Groot and Rocket stole the show in Guardians of the Galaxy earlier this year, I think everyone walking out of Big Hero 6 will only want one thing: their own Baymax. Baymax, voiced by Scott Adsit, is a robotic nurse who is bequeathed to Hiro early in the film and possibly the most loveable character you’ll have ever seen on screen. Despite being a machine, Baymax represents the heart and soul of the film and, I must warn you, he’ll make you laugh and cry in equal measure. This is the perfect film to take the family to over the holiday break, which will entertain both adults and kids alike. Please don’t let this one pass you by.

Feast

Big Hero 6 accompanied by an adorable short film titled Feast. I don’t want to spoil this little gem for you except to say it’s for fans of The Lady and the Tramp and those who were swept away by the first 10 minutes of Up.

If you see the film and agree or disagree with my review feel free to drop a line below or come over and kick us in the pants at our Facebook page.

- Stu



Well, it’s been a damn fine year for cinema, with standout films in almost every genre. Since the internet is in dire need of another top 10 list, I humbly present my best films of 2014. 

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this year’s cinema. Feel free to tell me your favourite films for the year in the comments below or come over to our Facebook page to shoot the breeze.

Bring on 2015.

- Stu





Honourable mentions






Before you say it, yes, I'm aware Puella Magi Madoka Magica (or PMMM for short, which sounds like a noise of satisfaction you'd make with a pinched nose) - the deconstruction of the Magical Girl anime genre that would spawn classics like Sailor Moon - started life as a 12-episode anime series followed by a successful series of manga adaptations. I'm also aware that the two discs that form this compilation movie are basically a retread of the series with some of the fatty bits trimmed off, much like what Evangelion did with Death and Rebirth back in the day.  I am therefore aware that praises and criticisms I might level come with an asterisk floating beside them, as this is essentially like saying something about a trailer that judges the entire finished product (topical!).

But I'm also firmly of the opinion that a movie - that is, a cinematic experience of visuals and sound intended to convey a story - needs to stand as its own thing, whether it's a recap, sequel, prequel or fly-on-the-wall documentary about some guy who paints fences. So I came into the PMMM movie with that mindset, intent on judging it on its own merits no matter how great the longer anime might or might not be.

Rest assured, then, that not only do the two PMMM movies stand on their own as films, they blew my mind like that one time I stood too close to a jet turbine. It's so good I'm considering taking out a
loan on my kidney to pay to purchase the Blu-ray of the series. Hell, it's so good I now have the boxset - featuring a whole bunch of badass young ladies wearing technicolour battle armour - taking pride of place on my shelf beside Cowboy Bebop and my Attack on Titan collections. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But I'm not exaggerating when I say the Puella Magi Madoka Magica movie is damn, damn good.

The premise starts with sweet, unassuming and pink-haired middle school student Madoka Kaname finding an injured magical white weasel/ferret hybrid called Kyubei. After saving him from death, Kyubei offers Madoka the chance to become a Magical Girl, giving her a Sailor Moon-esque set of transformative powers to fight witches in exchange for any one wish she can make. While she contemplates this decision, Madoka meets other Magical Girls - including the confident, impossibly-coiffed Mami and the quiet but deadly Homura - and discovers that getting these powers might lead to something much darker than that which she is tasked to fight.

I don't want to say much more than that, despite the fact this recap movie comes three years after the anime proper, but rest assured that the twists are awesome. There were at least three big moments I gasped, leapt forward in my seat and yelled at the TV, words to the effect of "No way that just happened!" with more colourful vernacular attached. It's the kind of narrative where not knowing "It was his sled" is a benefit, so if you're able to snag this Blu-ray without visiting TvTropes or Wikipedia on the way, so much the better.

It's actually difficult to articulate entirely what makes the PMMM movies work like gangbusters. I'd
say it's a distinct marriage of bright visuals, eclectic art style (especially with the witches), compelling story and a really strong English dub crew. At first it seems like we're in for a long, cutesy Sailor Moon clone - the opening credits alone are sweet enough to induce diabetes - and then about half an hour in things start happening that dispel the cute and fluffy facade. Trust me, it is worth slogging through the pink and pretty first half hour to get to the narrative gold afterwards.

As great as I find the PMMM movies, there are a few drawbacks. Whether it's the English dub specifically or the story in general some dialogue parts can get overly bogged down in exposition, which does throw me out of the story a little during moments that are clearly meant to land with impact that would benefit from brevitous storytelling. I also reckon - again, acknowledging this as a recap film of a pre-existing anime - that the opening takes its time a bit too much getting to the main thrust of the plot. Character and world-building is all well and good, but most of what passes for that in the first half hour is mostly Madoka making little anime girl squeaks.

Those are minor drawbacks, though, and the positives are to the negatives what a beer stein is to a teacup. There's enough grand, operatic narrative peppered with introspective character moments and a really nice dark, gut-punchy undertone that the two Puella Magi Madoka Magica movies combined manage to stand tall as a fantastic anime film that eschews a lot of the auteur problems such deconstructive tales are usually plagued with. Most might probably tell you to watch the series itself before checking out the films (for I understand there's a third movie that acts as a sequel to the whole thing), but I'd go out on a limb and presume some of the narrative fat of the anime might've been trimmed with good reason for the movie. Of course, I'm gonna have to watch now to find out, so there goes another six hours of my weekend.

Ignore the cutesy cover of the Blu-Ray, avoid the spoilers and just engage. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is awesome. Plain and simple.

- Chris

In the interest of full disclosure, I should advise that I haven’t completed Dragon Age Inquisition. This isn’t because I’m not interested or not thoroughly invested in the game, quite the opposite. It’s because this game is MASSIVE. I’ve sunk just over 40 hours into the game since release and still feel as though I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. So as not to leave you waiting until 2015 for my full review, I’ve put this review together based upon my feelings and experiences thus far.

As I said, this game is massive. Not just in terms of map size, but also visual scale and possibility. There is just so much to do and all the time in the world to do it, which you’ll need. In their press kit, EA advised that you should set aside between 50-65 hours for a play though of the main game but I call BS. There is no way that you could possibly jump into this game without finding yourself distracted, running off to bash up a few apostates or close a handful of rifts.

Not only is it difficult not to get side tracked, it’s also a hell of a lot of fun. By seeking out many of these side quests you are forced to explore more and more of the gigantic maps of Ferelden and Orlais. Each of these separate ‘world maps’ are then broken down into smaller location maps such as the semi-tutorial area of The Hinterlands. Here you’ll cut your teeth as a burgeoning Inquisitor by amassing supporters to the Inquisition and various other engagements of derring-do. That said, skip the damn Druffalo mission. It’s really not worth the XP. Here’s a hot tip for new players, don’t hang around in the Hinterlands for too long. There’s a massive world out there just waiting for you to explore. Plus, you can always come back later.

The combat system has seen a bit of a makeover since DA2 with the ability to fight on the fly in real time or switch to a top down view wherein you can plan the movements of each player and stop or advance time at your will. The latter of which is particularly handy when you find yourself overwhelmed by enemies and allows you to survey the battlefield for an advantage such as a high point for a bow-wielding rogue. Many of your battles will be fun, but not too difficult while others will seriously push your limits. Encounter a dragon early on in the game, say, the Ferelden Frostback, and you’ll promptly have you arse handed to you. As you progress in the game, however, these battles become more doable while still providing a challenge.

The story, as it should be, is the best part of the game and instantly transports players back to the world of Templars, Apostates, Blood Mages and, of course, dragons. This game builds upon what has come before it, keeps much of the established look and feel, but still brings something new to the table which, in this case, is scale. Almost as if they took a note from the book of Skyrim, Dragon Age Inquisition is big. multi-level castles, great expansive maps and a multitude of customisation options give so much motivation to play, all the while compounded by a tonne of my favourite fantasy element: LORE!

Fans of the DA franchise will find joy in many of the cameo appearances and pieces of dialogue that refer to incidents past. Speaking of dialogue, Bioware have done it again and provided a stunning array of dialogue based story decisions with an incredibly varied palette of voice actors. Considering just how many lines of dialogue there are in this game, it’s incredible that the lip syncing is as great as it is. In fact, the animation and graphics in general are superb, showcasing the power of the Frostbite engine. At times I found myself standing in the rain on a storm battered coast or basking in the serenity of a lush green pasture just watching the long grass undulate and the trees sway. This is Dragon Age Inquisition’s real strength, its ability to transport you to somewhere fantastic. As a kid, growing up on 200 acres in northern NSW, I would run around the bush with a bath towel for a cape, broomstick as a magic staff, or a plastic sword, or toy bow and arrow, slaying imaginary orcs and goblins. I still have such fond memories of those days and DAI drew out those feelings that I had almost forgotten.

I’m somewhat thankful that I haven’t rushed through this game because even though I’ve already spent a considerable amount of time questing and looting, I know that the adventure has only just begun.

- Ryan

Jonathan Hickman has carved quite the name for himself in the world of comica. Where Grant Morrison is associated with psychedelic trips, Mark Millar with high-octane ultra-violence, and Brian Michael Benids with superhero soap operas, Hickman has his reputation firmly planted in his love of high concept science fiction and intricate plots. Seriously, no one does sci-fi quite like Hickman, and the first time I read one his books, the first volume of The Manhattan Projects, it took me a solid week to process what I had just read.

He's a skilled writer with a unique voice to say the least, but there is one slight problem, his schtick is starting to wear thin on me. Hickman has such a clear and definitive writing style that often his characters become overpowered by it, reduced to cogs in the overarching plot machine. Don't get me wrong, I love what the man does, but I would just like to see him change it up a little and tell more character driven stories in his creator owned work. This is where East of West comes in, his creator owned series from Image with artist Nick Dragotta.

What struck me about the first volume of East of West was how different it was for Hickman. Sure you had all the usual Hickman trappings like a bizarre alternate future complete with enough dirty politics to make Game of Thrones seem civil, but you also had very personal struggles at the centre of it all. I would almost go so far to say it was a love story. Almost.

Two volumes later and a hell of a lot has changed. For starters, and much to my disappointment,
Hickman has widened the narrative camera to make it less about Death and his angry (ex?) wife Xiaolin, and more about their overall role in preventing the fulfillment of the Message. Sure, they get plenty of page time and Xialoin is as badass as ever, she is after all the woman who conquered Death, but it's obvious that the focus of East of West has has shifted

The main part of this shift comes in the introduction of the Endless Nation; technologically superior Native Americans who dress like rejected members of Daft Punk. Things begin to heat up when The Endless Nation declares war on the rest of the dystopian and divided America, plunging the continet into war. And just like that it seems the world is one step closer to the apocalypse. It's a unique and strangely fragile setting, a tribute to Hickman's world building chops. Indeed this complex setting easily overshadows any of my gripes with his at times average characterizations.

Where Hickman's work ends, Nick Dragotta's begins. Somehow he makes bringing Hickman's impossible vision to life look easy. Splash pages of enormous cube like space ships barely suspended in atmosphere, towering ivory spires, and the subtlest of facial twitches all grace the page effortlessly. Make no mistake, Dragotta is at the top of his game, keeping even the longest 'talking-head' style conversations visually interesting.

At this point it would be a crime not to mention the impressive colour work of Frank Martin. His pallete constantly changes to evoke the emotions of a particular scene whilst still maintaining a visual cohesion amongst the issues. A surprising amount of storytelling takes place through Martin's colour choices, and like Hickman's previous creator owned work, The Manhattan Projects, East of West relies to some extent on a certain level of colour coding, with Death and his two companions (the closest thing to 'heroes' this series has to offer) decked out in various combinations of black and white. It makes for a stark contrast between Death and his posse, and the richly coloured backgrounds.


Overall I like East of West. I'll even go as far to say I like it a lot. Even through I would love to see Hickman push himself and deliver a more character based story there are plenty of character driven moments to punctuate all the political scheming and drama. If you haven't read Hickman before then East of West is a great place to start, although I would recommend you start at volume one given the complexity of the story.

- Christof