Episode 35! Stu and Billy are back this week to discuss T2 Trainspotting!

T2 Trainspotting is a British Black Comedy Drama directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, The Beach, Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later) and is a sequel to Trainspotting.

Set 20 years after the first film the story sees Mark "Rent Boy" Renton (Ewan McGregor) return home to Edinburgh after living in Amsterdam this whole time, and reunites with his old friends Daniel "Spud" Murphy (Ewen Bremner), Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson (Jonny Lee Miller), and Francis "Franco" Begbie (Robert Carlyle). Much has changed but just as much remains the same.

The film also features Kevin McKidd, Kelly McDonald, James Cosmo, Shirley Henderson, and Irvine Welsh.

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 34! Stu and Billy are back this week to discuss Silence!

Silence is a historical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Departed, The Aviator) and is based on the book of the same name by Shusaku Endo.

The story focuses on two Christian missionaries, Sebastiao Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), who travel to Japan in search of their Mentor Father Cristovao Ferreira (Liam Neeson). At this time Christianity was outlawed in Japan and the priests presence forbidden.

The film also features Tadanobu Asano, Issey Ogata, Shinya Tsukamoto.

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



Over the weekend I had a chance to interview Ryan Ferrier about the third entry to his smash hit sci-fi comic series D4VE from IDWD4VEOCRACY. We talked about the continuation of the series and what's to come next. Enjoy.



Billy Tournas: After a quick journey to hell in your series Hot Damn, Valentin Ramon and yourself are back on 34RTH with D4VEOCRACY. How did this all come about?

Ryan Ferrier: Around the time we started working on D4VE2 I began making notes and scribbling down ideas for a potential third arc of the series, and the core idea for what would become D4VEOCRACY was the constant theme. I think both of us knew we had this third and final arc in us, so as soon as Hot Damn production started winding down, we shifted gears back on D4VE. We could’ve gone from D4VE2 to D4VEOCRACY, I remember, but we decided to take a small break for Hot Damn, which I’m so proud of. We missed D4VE a lot though. This third arc has felt nothing but natural.

Was working with Valentin on Hot Damn a different experience to working on D4VEOCRACY? And if so did it change or improve the way you worked on this third D4VE book?

Really the only thing different was the boundaries we each put on ourselves as creators. With a book like Hot Damn there’s quite a bit of potentially controversial stuff going on, so we were both kind of feeling things out in terms of “how far can/should we go.” But really, working with Valentin is an absolute dream, and the level of trust and inspiration that goes between us is pretty awesome. I think D4VEOCRACY is his best work yet, and all roads have led to this arc—he’s making my scripts better and giving me more confidence and drive to go bigger.

After travelling back in time in D4VE2 to face his inner demons, I would assume D4VE could handle anything now?

Nope! You’re going to see a different D4VE. Certainly a much more resolved man who has gone through the necessary emotions and healing to begin building something stable but his challenge comes in facing something that he really has no control over: free will. How can he possibly save a world that doesn’t want or doesn’t feel has to be saved? D4VE’s also shifting his methods a little bit, which is terrifying. He can’t win be punching and shooting, yet his goal is still the same. He’s totally unequipped against foes who feed right into the whims of the planet.

The thing I love most about D4VEOCRACY is just how much the main cast has grown over the last two series. We’re really proud of where they’ve all gone and how they’ll all end up, for better or worse.


How much after D4VE2 is D4VEOCRACY set?

Four years! At the start of D4VEOCRACY #1 we’re right at the end of President Roombo’s first term in office, which he started at the end of D4VE2. So there’s been a nice little gap of time for the planet to get settled again. D4VE works part time at the history museum, 54LLY is an executive at 34RTH POW3R, 5COTTY is in marketing for the DUD3R app, and BR4D is a secret service agent.

One thing I love about the D4VE series is that each arc can be picked up as a stand-alone story so any reader can jump in. Was that always the plan from you and Valentin?

It wasn’t something we kept in mind as a goal, to have them read distinctly on their own, no. I think as a reading experience, it’s best to read D4VE first. In D4VE2 there are a lot of callbacks to the first series, and less set-up for the world and “rules” of the series. I have had a lot of people tell me they read D4VE2 first though and had no problems. Maybe I’m just a sucker for continuity. I do think D4VEOCRACY benefits entirely from following the characters since their start, so we may have broken the chain with that one. But Valentin and I are approaching these arcs with character and story in mind first; it would seem remiss to try and water down their journeys thus far. That said I absolutely think anyone could read any arc anytime and find something to enjoy, just look at Valentin’s art! So in other words, the D4VE train is leaving the station so you’re either in or you’re out!

Each series of D4VE has brought us new, unique and wonderful characters. I would assume that this is going to be the case this time round as well?

Yes, oh yes, and I’m really excited (diabolically) for them. In issue #1 we debut GL3NN, the app startup running douchebro who serves as one of the series’ primary villains. He’s a handfull of inspirations crammed into one. Imagine Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Shkreli, and Ryan Lochte all at their smarmiest and stuffed into an axe body spray rich kid robot body.

We’re also really excited for D4VE’s political rival, S4M, who’s origin is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time in the D4VE universe. [SPOILER FOR ISSUE #1] he is the internet uploaded into a robots body. [/END SPOILER] So we’re going to have a lot of fun with that. There’s really anything we can do with that as the well runs pretty deep (and bizarre), so you can expect some wild moments.

What can you tease us about the upcoming journey you're going to take D4VE on?

This is not an election comic, that’s something I want people to know first and foremost. As you’ll see in issue #2, that premise is flipped around and the real sense of D4VE’s journey is revealed. There is going to be some big action with huge implications for the robot civilization. There will be some imploding relationships. There will be some moments that (hopefully) make you cry. We will see the characters reach their end, and their fates will be revealed, as this is the last D4VE story.



Finally, what else are you working on at the moment?

I’m super excited about my two-issue arc of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe, beginning in issue #7 on 02.22.17! Adam Gorham and myself have been having so much fun on this story, and it’s kind of a dream come true. It’s a Donatello-centric story with a lot of heart and action.

Later in March is the start of my ongoing backup story in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. That should be in every issue for about a year, which is really cool. I’m working with artist Bachan and colorist Triona Farrell, who are both amazing. These pages are some of the most fun stuff I’ve ever been a part of.

I’ve also got an all-ages OGN for a licensed property in the summer which hasn’t been announced yet, and a couple other series, creator-owned and licensed, that are yet to be announced, but I’m beyond excited and grateful for them.

Thank you very much for chatting with me, Ryan





-----------------------------------------------

D4VEOCRACY #1 is on sale now. You can find it digitally from the IDW Publishing websitecomiXology, or from your local Comic Book store. 

The first two series, D4VE & 
D4VE2, can be found in Trade format at IDW Publishing website, or from your local Comic Book store. Single issues can also be found digitally at comiXology.

Ryan Ferrier can be located on Twitter and his Blog
Valentine Ramon can be located via his Blog


As this review is a First Impressions of a game that is still in development, there will be no */10 Geeks score at the end. Any aspects of the game discussed here are subject to change in the final version.

---

Whether or not you enjoy Get Even is going to depend on how much you don't like having every question answered - or even most questions, for that matter. If you're the kind of pop culture consumer who avoids things like Inception, Minority Report, Silent Hill and the collected works of David Lynch, you'll want to add Get Even to that list, then go and reassess your life choices.

Those of us who are keen on all of the above will, most likely, have a ball.

After reading a few reports which detailed several different incarnations of its story, dating as far back as 2013, the version of Get Even that I played had a plot somewhere between Deadly Premonition and Paycheck, with a healthy dose of P.T. mixed in. You play as Cole Black, a Sean Bean-accented mercenary who starts the game tracking down a kidnapped young woman in a dilapidated house filled with armed men. After seemingly setting off a bomb whilst rescuing her, Cole wakes up four years later outside an abandoned mental asylum, with no memory of the time in-between. A mysterious figure named Red informs Cole that he is here to relive some of his memories, in order to ascertain how he got to the asylum, what happened to the girl, and why one of his most recent contracts may have something to do with both.

To say that Get Even has a loopy narrative isn't doing it justice. The story fully embraces going in medias res and uses an anachronic structure to a somewhat disorienting degree, rapidly shifting between moments in Cole's memories and his present-day time in the asylum. Very little is concretely explained or given to the player easily; even after three hours spent with the game, I struggled to coherently piece together much of the journey Cole's taken to get to the present day. The narrative has hinted thus far as at a couple of developments - including the obvious notion that Cole might not be as heroic as he seems - but I'm still rather left in the dark about where this is all going. And I love it.

This is where the David Lynch influence comes in. Granted, Get Even has a bit more terra firma to it than some of Twin Peaks or Mulholland Drive's weirder, more inexplicable moments, but a lot of the game's engaging and unsettling nature comes from the largely inscrutable plot, many of the characters' unclear motivations, and a lot of genre-mashing. Hints of the supernatural are woven here and there, especially during lengthy sections exploring the asylum when the influence of P.T. is felt most. The memory-reliving mechanic - along with the distortion of reality and the suggestion that Cole's memories have been tampered with - evokes elements of Inception and Minority Report. Cole's backstory as a corporate gun-for-hire has shades of James Bond, though his character lacks the innate charm of the British superspy and has a more grunting, thuggish presence. All of these different flavours occasionally conflict with one another, particularly during an energetic action sequence in one of Cole's early memories which immediately gives way to a much more claustrophobic, psychological horror-tinged jaunt through the asylum. Ultimately the tones balance well, for the most part, even if they'll give you more whiplash than Indiana Jones when he's faced with a cobra.

In contrast to the story's complexity, the gameplay is quite simple. It's primarily a first-person view with the requisite shooting mechanics and minimalist HUD, along with a few investigative tools - such as an evidence scanner and a black light - used through apps on your smartphone. While it's nice that the game doesn't overburden the player with too many gameplay elements and a mind screw of a plot, it'd be good to see if some the mechanics present can be used for things other than glorified quick-time events; the evidence scanner, in particular, merely needs you to line up your phone with a highlighted area on the phone's screen in order for some parts of the plot to progress. The shooting and stealth combat takedowns also feel a little clunky, emphasising the need to avoid enemies even more than you're already encouraged to; Splinter Cell or Hitman, this ain't.

On top of the above, the graphics are a bit rough around the edges. The framerate is consistently high - it looked 60FPS to me, but I didn't confirm when I tried the demo - and the art team have done a good job accentuating the unnerving qualities of the asylum through a host of dilapidated rooms and crumbling architecture, augmented by some strong sound design. The other locales explored - including the underground tunnels from the opening level, plus a few other places which I won't spoil - look relatively simplistic by comparison, their colour palettes distinctly unengaging and the map design looking fairly boxy and lacking in the kind of visual nuance afforded to the asylum. Human enemies are similarly underdeveloped, most characters looking fairly similar to one another; at one point, I mistook an enemy who attempted to kill me for somebody else I'd met earlier in the game, and what could've been a fairly interesting plot twist instead became a dull realisation that I'd just killed a random goon instead. It might be unsettling, too, to see every dead enemy with their eyes glassily open, though I'm uncertain as to whether that's more fuel for the horror factor or just a representation of the lack of visual detail.

For all that sawdust above, though, I'm intrigued to see where the final version of Get Even ends up. The time I spent with it kept me riveted to my chair and muttering words of panic whenever the tone shifted from action to horror - something which undoubtedly annoyed the fellow reviewers around me in the Bandai Namco offices, for which I apologise profusely to them. The game's got good atmosphere, a trippy plot and just enough of a throughline of truth in its story to keep me wading through the weirdness, inexplicability and genre-shifting, but it might need a bit more polish on the interactive components before Cole Black and the asylum see the light of day.

Oh, and on a final note, you will not see wooden dummies the same way after playing Get Even. If you find yourself ever needing one, buy a plastic mannequin instead. Trust me, I'm doing you a favour.

- Chris



Get Even is set to release for Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC on May 26.

Geek of Oz would like to thank Bandai Namco for allowing us to have a hands-on look at the demo.


Episode 33! Stu and Billy are back this week to discuss Hidden Figures!

Hidden Figures is a biographical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent) and based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly about female African-American mathematicians at NASA.

It focuses on Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) who served as the brains behind one of the more important space missions in NASA's history: the launch of John Glenn into orbit, which turned around the Space Race, and pushed forward the strive to go further.

The film also features Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parson, Glen Powell, and Mahershala Ali in supporting roles.

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 32! Stu and Billy are back this week to discuss Moana!

Moana is a Disney animated film from Directors Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet).

It focuses on Moana (Auli'i Cravalho), the strong-willed daughter of the chief in a Polynesian tribe, who is chosen by the sea itself to reunite a mystical relic with a goddess.

When a blight strikes her Island, Moana must forgo tradition and set sail beyond the reef to find Maui (Dwayne Johnson), a legendary demigod, in the hope of saving her people.

The film also features the voice casting of Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, and Alan Tudyk

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




Every December when compiling my top 10 films of the year, I stress out to the point that I basically swear off watching movies ever again. So this year, i’m adopting a new approaching; I’m going to maintain a top 10 list all year which will be revisited each month to factor in the new things I’ve seen. An ongoing cinematic cage match as it were; where combatants will face wave after wave of new contenders. Each month I’ll list all the films I watch either theatrically or video on demand and rank them accordingly. I’d love it if you played along as the year goes on and of course if you've see any of these films and agree or disagree with their ranking please feel free to yell at me in the comments below.

January Top 10:

1. Moonlight
2. Jackie
3. Manchester by the Sea
4. Edge of Seventeen
5. Rosalie Blum
6. Perfect Strangers
7. Live by Night
8. Patriot's Day
9. Split
10. Lion 


Films watched this month:

Passengers
Edge of Seventeen
Paterson (2016 release)
Moonlight
Manchester by the Sea
Split
Jackie
XXX: Return of Xander Cage
Moonlight
Lion
Live by Night
Perfect Strangers 
Batman (1966)
Rosalie Blum
Patriot's Day
Moana (2016)





- Stu 

THE SHORT VERSION

 

If you're after a complex, occasionally melodramatic plot with no shortage of beating the snot out of gangsters, then here's the game for you, my friend!







 

 

STORY

 

It's 1988, and the Japanese underworld is battling it out for control of an empty patch of land.


This empty patch - ominously titled the Empty Lot - acts as the key to control of a substantial amount of Japanese real estate. Two men each with their own criminal stake in the conflict - young yakuza enforcer Kazuma Kiryu, and cabaret club ooperator Goro Majima - operate separate agendas to in relation to the Lot, while a number of backroom deals, deceptions and unholy alliances play out around them. Against the grand canvas of operatic criminal dealings, Kiryu and Majima also deal with personal struggles; the former is dealing with the fallout after being wrongfully accused of murder, and the latter is tasked to assassinate a young blind woman whom he later comes to protect.

As much as I ended up liking the plot, Yakuza 0 has a bad habit of overloading the game with Metal Gear Solid-style cutscenes and moments where the player is catapulted out of play. The opening chapter in particular feels like it takes a good half hour before you're able to take control of Kiryu for important gameplay things, with the rest of the time taken up by a lot of vague setup and lingering camera shots of Kiryu looking stern. The game routinely takes the wheel from you to tell its story, and some of those chunks of narrative can take up a lot more time than the average sandbox crime game's plot.

To its credit, though, Yakuza 0's plot is at once labyrinthine and somewhat easy to follow. The characters each have complex motivations and backstories, quickly becoming compelling through some quite exceptional writing which only occasionally strays too far into the melodrama. As someone who's completely new to the franchise, I was afraid it'd be too much of a prequel story which is reliant on players' past knowledge of the series. Thankfully, though, you can step into Kiryu's snappy black shoes without knowing a thing to do with the Yakuza series, and the story doesn't confuse you for it. I would nonetheless presume there'll be moments where characters or plot turns appear that'll make veteran fans cheer with enthusiasm.



GAMEPLAY

 

Keeping in mind that I'm not a veteran fan, I was initially thrown by Yakuza 0's playstyle. I was expecting a sandbox more in the mold of Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row but with an '80s Japanese flavour; while that's certainly present, the way the game goes about it is initially off-putting if you come in with those expectations.


Rather than GTA, the closest comparison I immediately thought of was Final Fantasy. The sandbox map is usually sealed off for a lot of the story-driven beats, and combat only occurs when enemy thugs appear in JRPG-style random encounters as you walk the streets of Japan. You're unable to initiate any kind of combat until those encounters cross your path.

But once combat does start, it's intensely satisfying. My understanding is the Yakuza series largely favours fisticuffs over firearms, so the close quarters combat of Yakuza 0 feels like it's been honed over several games of experimentation before finding the right fit. Both Kiryu and Majima have multiple combat styles, all of which are beautifully animated and highly cathartic in execution. It feels solid when Kiryu uses the Rush style to smack the crap out of random goons, and thankfully such smacking isn't too reliant on complex button combos to pull off (although there are some of those for the players who're into that sort of thing).

In addition to the story and combat, there are also a raft of mini-games and side activities, most of which are pretty enjoyable (although the karaoke mini-game can go dive under a tractor and stay there). Their time-sink nature really makes you question how valuable the Empty Lot is if you can hold off on securing it in order to beat your Space Harrier high score, or engage in climactic dance battles, or chat up girls at the telephone club. Priorities, y'know?


VISUALS/SOUND AND VOICE ACTING

 

I don't know if the real 1980s Japan was really this gorgeous, but Yakuza 0's version definitely is. The neon-drenched streets and dingy back alleys feel real, a fully fleshed out simulacrum of one of the world's most vibrant countries. In contrast to some of the more dimly-lit and geographically unengaging realms of other sandbox games, like Saints Row IV and GTA V, the locales of Yakuza 0 feel alive and far worthier of exploration.

Character models are also animated well, with realistic skin textures and suitably '80s fashion styles to admire. On a technical level, the game occasionally dips the framerate when combat gets hectic, but is predominantly a smooth experience.

The game's vocal track is unchanged from the Japanese release, so you'll spend a lot of time enjoying the subtitles here. The voice actors acquit themselves well, and the top-notch ambient soundscape adds an extra immersive factor to the game's worldbuilding.



WRAPPING UP 

 

Though it can be a little clunky at first, particularly if you're only flush with Western sandbox games, Yakuza 0 is a great game once the story hits the road, if you can forgive the plethora of cutscenes which routinely withdraw the gameplay from you. As someone new to the venerable crime franchise, it definitely encouraged me to check out the back catalogue once I'm finished with all the existing side activities. So thank you, Yakuza 0, for prompting me to use up the last of my free time punching dudes and getting better at darts afterwards.

- Chris


Yakuza 0 is available now for Xbox One and Playstation 4.

Review copy kindly supplied to Geek of Oz by Five Star Games.


Episode 31! Stu and Billy are back this week to discuss Moonlight!

Moonlight is a drama based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

It focuses on a young man dealing with his dysfunctional home life and coming of age in Miami during the "War on Drugs" era. 

The story of his struggle to find himself is told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love while grappling with his own sexuality.

The film is directed by Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Meleancholy), and stars Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali, and Alex Hibbert.


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





In the late throes of 2016 I discovered Crazyhead waiting unassumingly in my Netflix recommended list. Apart from two female leads and some sort of supernatural element, I really didn’t know what to expect from this quirky horror-comedy. What I found was a uniquely British take on Buffy, only with way more swearing and dick jokes.



Cara Theobold, who you might know as the voice of Overwatch’s Tracer, stars as Amy, a dead-end-twenty-something who realises she can see demons, who as it turns out, have been hiding in plain sight amongst humans for centuries. In a not at all surprising turn of events she finds herself caught up in stopping a demonic conspiracy to open the gates of hell. Who would have thought?

Aiding her in this cliche quest is the socially-awkward Raquel, Susan Wokoma, who prefers to beat demons with a night-stick first and ask questions later. Raquel fancies herself Amy’s demon-hunting mentor, although it quickly becomes apparent she’s got as much to learn as Amy. Rounding out the team and acting as a sort of foil to all the supernatural goings-on is Jake, Amy’s work friend and all around doormat who plays driver for the two girls.  

Yep, it’s a pretty stock standard starting point for the supernatural monster hunter genre, and as an entry into the genre it doesn’t really contribute anything new. Demon’s are for the most part just normal thugs with creepy faces, possession works the same way it does in every other show involving demons and exorcisms feature plenty of unholy screeching and cryptic faux-Latin. Apart from adding the rule that you have to urinate on someone in order to exorcise a demon possessing them (which makes for some great, albeit cringe worthy, comedic moments) Crazyhead doesn’t really add anything of substance. To put it bluntly, if you are looking for deep and engaging lore this is not the show for you.

What you will find, however, is crude humour and plenty of it. This is all courtesy of Howard Overman, the guy behind Misfits and the creator of Crazyhead, who seems to delight in filling his shows with us many cringe worthy sex jokes as possible. Ball grabbing, sleeping with your geography teacher, arse-poles; it’s all fair game.

But apart from keeping the show light, this barrage of immature humour draws attention to the inherent awkwardness of navigating sex, sexuality and relationships in your early 20’s, a recurring theme of the show and easily its biggest strength.

Where Crazyhead succeeds where many other shows in the genre fail is in its portrayal of the dynamic between Amy, Requel and Jake. Instead of getting caught up in detailing what circle of hell the demons come from or chasing intricately choreographed fights and supernatural spectacle, Crazyhead instead focus on character relationships. Sure, some of the scenarios our three heroes find themselves in are pretty out-there, but the sentiments feel real and grounded. Particularly Raquel and Amy’s friendship, which is hands-down the best part of the show.

Look, It won’t be the next Supernatural (and that’s not necessarily a bad thing) but Crazyhead certainly has an undeniable charm. Instead of getting lost in genre it fights hard to have it’s own voice, and it really is a stronger show for it. While it might not be for everyone, if you can handle a bit of blue humour and lacklustre prosthetics, Crazyhead is well worth a watch.