The latest film in the DC Extended Universe is available on DVD and Blu-ray from December 7th!

It feels good to be bad. Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity.


U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do.




However, once they realise they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself?



To win a copy of Suicide Squad on Blu-Ray simply Like, Share or Comment on our Facebook post to win

The series stars: Viola Davis, Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne, and Jared Leto


Release date – DVD & Blu-ray December 7th 
Distributor – Roadshow Entertainment









Episode 26! Stu and Billy are back at the flicks this week to watch The Founder!

The Founder is a biographical drama film directed by John Lee Hancock (The Rookie, The Blind Side, and Saving Mr. Branks), and is written by Robert D. Siegel (The Onion Movie and The Wrestler).

The film stars Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, and tells the story of how he acquired the McDonald's fast food chain from the McDonald brothers, Maurice "Mac" & Richard "Dick" McDonald, portrayed by John Carroll Lynch & Nick Offerman.

The film also stars Laura Dern as Ray's wife Ethel, as well as starring Patrick Wilson, Linda Cardellini, Ric Reitz, Wilbur Fitzgerald, and B. J. Novak.

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!





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Episode 25! Stu and Billy communicate with Alien Life this week as they watch Arrival!

Arrival is a science fiction mystery/thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, and currently filming Blade Runner 2049), and is based on the short story "Story of Your Life" by author Ted Chiang.

The film stars Amy Adams as Linguistics professor Louise Banks, who is tasked with leading a team of investigators when 12 gigantic spaceships land at various locations around the world.

As nations around the world teeter on the verge of global war, Banks and her crew, which include theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and US Army Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker), must race against time to find away to communicate with their extraterrestrial visitors.

This week discussion of the film is spoiler heavy so be warned. 

As well as the film, Stu and I discuss what else we've been watching this week.

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

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BEFORE YOU READ ANY FURTHER, PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING.


I cannot stress enough that it's important, if possible, to see this movie with as little foreknowledge as you can. Don't Google a trailer. Don't look at a poster. Don't even scan your eyes over the press photos used in this review. If you can, just avoid anything to do with this film's marketing, and go see it unmolested. Words cannot describe how much I loved Your Name, but a lot of that love comes from knowing as scant as possible about it; its premise, its characters, its plot turns. Although most of the current media surrounding the film has been fairly good with keeping the major stuff hidden from view, there are some things you could still infer. Therefore, if there is any Faustian bargain you can strike to completely block out anything resembling anything to do with Your Name before you see it, go do that.

For those who are after a hot take or a nice shiny review score before you determine if you'll watch it - Your Name is a stunning, impactful, moving, funny, beautiful and emotional masterpiece of an anime about two people who are wonderfully and intricately drawn characters, both inside and out. To skip to the end bit, I will be giving it 10/10. It is a movie you should already be going to watch, and I would strongly recommend you stop reading right here.

For the rest of you, the review will be as vague as possible while still informative, but you should be aware there may be SOME MINOR SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING REVIEW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

It'd be mighty unprofessional of me as a critic to just say "Your Name is one of the best anime films I've ever seen, go watch", and then call it a day. But trust me when I say that that option sounded really tempting when I set out to write about it.


A lot of the praise I'm going to give it is rooted squarely in the fact that I knew almost nothing about it beforehand, and was pleasantly surprised by what unfolded. The poster - the only piece of film advertising I'd seen - gave the impression of it being a high school romance-drama hybrid between two young lovers. Given that I'm more into things like Attack on Titan, the Evangelion series and the Madoka Magica movies, you could probably tell that such a film would not be closely aligned to my interests.


But I'll be damned, Your Name was a soaring, towering masterpiece of an anime. Directed by Makoto Shinkai, the film is the story of two teenagers living in different parts of Japan; Taki is a cocky, arrogant young man living a busy life in Tokyo, whilst Mitsuha is a sweet and sassy young woman doing her best to make it through a banal existence in the rural town of Itomori. Both their lives are changed when a comet closely orbits Earth for the first time in over a thousand years. As a result of some vaguely magical effects stemming from said orbit, Taki and Mitsuha start uncontrollably body-swapping with each other. After a period of adjustment (and no small amount of self-groping, in one of the film's funniest running gags), both teens start helping each other to make positive changes in their respective lives. Of course, once that starts happening, they get the urge to meet each other.


That's as far as I'll go with the plot, but trust me when I say that the Freaky Friday-style narrative beats are not as simple as they first appear. Underneath an external appearance of giddy, emotionally-light quasi-sci-fi fare lies the beating heart of a story that will put you through a number of emotional wringers before the end. Have you ever bit down on a piece of nigiri that you thought was just salmon and rice - perfectly delicious and enjoyable - only to find that there's wasabi hidden in-between both things, injecting an unexpected flavour into your eating-based proceedings? Your Name is kind of like that, particularly if you're into wasabi.


Besides a compelling and unexpected plot structure, Your Name's next biggest strength is its characters. Shinkai's direction effortlessly establishes both Taki and Mitsuha as engaging protagonists with the smallest available cinematic gestures; the differences between how both do their hair each morning, the food they eat, their respective gaits, and the minor interactions they have with other characters give portraits of quite deep and interesting characters, along with the usual exposition and subtle hints on familial situations (Mitsuha is publicly called out for her bad posture by her mayoral father during an election rally; by contrast, Taki is barely chastised by his absent-minded single father for waking up late and not making them both breakfast, before his father goes to work). These little tics are also present when they're in each other's bodies, with both the visuals and the voice actors doing excellent work at establishing who's in which body without always spelling it out for the viewer. The depth of the protagonists is a particularly impressive feat considering they're both teenagers who, in the hands of almost any other director, would probably come across as somewhat archetypal. Not so with Shinkai, who makes us invested
quite quickly in what Taki and Mitsuha are going through on their own and with one another. The supporting players are also well done, with a special note given towards Mitsuha's high school friends Tessie and Sayaka, who spend the entire film as the most effective narrative "those two guys" in recent memory. This means the film taps into its emotional power by strongly grounding the drama in some very human, relatable people, rather than in the specific mechanics of the body-swapping itself or the possibilities for mischief that entails. Those looking for anything beyond a surface level explanation for it will be left unsatisfied - but I mean really, can't you tell it's all happening because of the comet? Magic, folks, come on, it isn't that hard to accept.


The above are all wrapped up within a moving, powerful tale of identity and love. Some movie and anime veterans will almost certainly guess a few of the big plot turns before they happen - there was one massive one which I picked moments before it was spelled out on-screen - but rather than defuse part of the film's tension, it just switches it to another track. If you're able to predict where Your Name is heading, it'll create a certain kind of emotional anxiety that only ratchets that tension up to another level. By about the halfway point, I discovered I had absolutely no idea where we were headed, but with what we'd learned about the plot and characters by that point, I had a feeling of a few paths the film could have decided to take, all of them carrying at least a little bit of that emotional anxiety, and all of them loaded with the possibility of turning me into a human faucet with a broken tap. While I won't say if Your Name took any of the paths I envisioned, I will say - as should be evidenced by that nice big 10/10 down the bottom - that I did not leave unsatisfied. Quite the opposite.


I really wish I could say more, and under normal circumstances I would be fine throwing out a few more hints about plot developments and character progression in the body of the review (for instance, look no further than my blunt assault on the plot "twists" of the latest Harry Potter atrocity). But I'm under the impression that most of my audience come here for recommendations, rather than a post-film discussion forum to chat over specific plot turns (though, of course, I'd love it if the latter happened, too). The fact is, you're probably still reading because you haven't seen Your Name yet, and weren't suitably warned off by the opening. If you were waiting for any more justification as to why you should go see the film, there's not much more I could say to convince you without going into unnecessary details.


Your Name made me laugh a lot, and weep into my sleeve. It had some of the most gorgeous anime vistas I've ever seen, along with a soundtrack that was pitch perfect for each scene it underscored (though I could do without the gratuitous J-Rock). It was both a fine bait-and-switch misdirection and a genuinely heart-wrenching story in its own right. As I said before, you should have seen it already.

- Chris



Your Name opens in cinemas in Australia from November 24th.

Geek of Oz would like to thank Madman for their invitation to the press screening for this film.


Episode 24! Stu and Billy get a little mystical this week as they watch Doctor Strange!

Doctor Strange is the latest superhero film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is the fourteenth film in said universe. The film is directed by Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Day the Earth Stood Still)

Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Star Trek Into Darkness) stars as Dr Stephen Strange, a world renowned surgeon whose career ends after a tragic car accident. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing and hope in a mysterious enclave run by the Ancient One. Before long, Strange has to make a choice between his life of fame and fortune, or defending the world with his new abilities.

It also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer, Benedict Wong as Master Wong, Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius, and Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One.

This week discussion of the film is spoiler heavy so 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

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Over the weekend we had a chance to interview Curt Pires about his new series, The Forevers, which sees it's second issue released today from Black Mask Studios. We talked about the creation of series, the team involved and little about what's to come next. Enjoy.



Geek Of Oz: Hi Curt, thanks for taking the time out for this interview. In The Forevers we have a group of individuals struggling on the brink of stardom, who then take up a black magic pact to achieve everything they wanted. Now stories about selling your soul or making a pact with the devil in exchange for fame and fortune are fairly well trodden ground, what inspired your unique take on the trope with The Forevers? 

Curt Pires: I think what started everything for me was that first scene in the book. It just came to me. The imagery of them all getting ready to participate in this ritual, to just sort of cut in on it in a really obtuse way where not much is explained, and then jump forward in time. I think that while there have definitely been stories like this before, none of them sort of tackle things in the exact same way.

Since POP you've had quite a few series come out in between then and now. Do you like to keep very active with your writing? How do you juggle the various projects you have going on? 

It’s weird for me. I like to have something going all the time because I just like making art, but at the same time I think it’s important to know when to slow down. I feel like the concept of Capitalism has bled into art, into time in general and there’s this sort of mentality in comics that if you don’t have stuff coming out you’re going to be forgotten.

I want to unplug and disassociate from that notion as much as possible. I like to think of myself as an artist in general terms, and I feel like putting out a new book, a new series for me is a lot like putting out an album for a musician. I’d rather wait and make something worthwhile, than rush something out to compete in the ratrace.

Has your writing style/process changed much over the past two years? 

My scripts have tightened up structurally, and I’d say I’m quite a bit smarter from when I started. I hope I’m improving craft-wise as well, but it’s hard to evaluate myself objectively.

Art wise, the whole book feels and looks like it takes place in a drunken haze; scenes intersect and melt into one another and the art has this gorgeous blurr to it. Was this look and feel something you envisioned from the beginning or did you work on it with Eric Pfeiffer? 

That’s all Eric, to be honest. It looks totally different from the way Eric drew his last book (Arcadia) and I think it really works for the projects tone. It adds to the Lynch vibe, I think.

I'm an avid watcher of Supernatural type films, and The Forevers so far feels like a great 90's Supernatural film. Did you mean for that to come through? 

Not intentionally, but I welcome it. I have a fond memory of films from that era. I still remember finding a VHS of “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and being incredibly excited by how scary it looked. It feels so taboo when you’re a child, it’s wonderful. If I could stir up some of those feelings in people, that’s awesome.

As with all of your work this series feels like a labour of love from the entire team involved. Can you tell me more about you all came together for this series, and what they bring to the table other than their work? 

For sure. I think Eric added me on Facebook a while back, maybe early 2015ish. We just sort of started talking and let each other know we were fans of each other's stuff. We talked a bit about what we wanted to work on and eventually decided on THE FOREVERS.

Colin has been lettering most of my stuff since MAYDAY, so he was a natural choice. He always comes through for me, and is a joy to work with.

Ryan is one of my oldest friends in comics, and always sort of helps me out behind the scenes on stuff. Aside from being an amazing writer, he has a really strong background in graphic design, and I can literally just pickup the phone and talk to him about what I’m envisioning, so it was really clear to me that he was the right choice.


I know you're a big fan of music. What would you recommend to listen to while reading the series?

Libertines. Babyshambles. Manic Street Preachers. Blur. Frank Ocean. I’ve been really into Travis Scott lately and think that works with this too. Neon Demon score by Cliff Martinez. There’s tons of things I could suggest. I think the key for this book is that if the song seems decadent, or deprived, or like “sweaty” in anyway, it fits the mood.

Now I asked this question last time I interviewed you, and I thought I would ask it again in case your answer has changed. What advice do you have for any creators starting out?

Develop a voice. Tell the stories you want to read. Have a vision and pursue it at all costs.

Finally can you give our readers a bit of a tease for what's coming up for the rest of the series?

More people die. More people fuck. More people do drugs. And also some *feelings*, or feels if you prefer.


Thank you very much for chatting with me, Curt

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

The Forevers #2 is on sale now. You can find it and the previous issues digitally from the Black Mask Studios website, or from your local Comic Book store. 

Curt Pires can be located on Twitter and his Blog
Eric Pfeiffer can be located on Twitter and his Site
Colin Bell can be located on Twitter and his Blog
Ryan Ferrier can be located on Twitter and his Blog




THE SHORT VERSION


It’s Skyrim. It’s on current-gen consoles. It’s much prettier (to an extent).

What more do you want?


STORY

Ok, in all seriousness.


You are the last of the Dragonborn, with dragon’s blood in your veins and the ability to shout enemies off of mountaintops with nothing but your Voice. Dragons have started returning to the icy realm of Skyrim, and it falls to you to figure out how, why and what you can do to stop them tearing the world apart. While you’re doing that, you might want to consider joining a Thieves Guild, becoming an assassin, allying with a bunch of werewolf mercenaries, studying powerful magics to uncover an ancient mystery, looting a few tombs, fighting some ice trolls, falling in love with a huntress, adopting some random kids, building a house, fighting against a vampire insurgency, and stopping for a rest if there’s time left in the day.

The classic, five-year-old story mode of Skyrim still holds up, largely because of the agency given to the player. This is the kind of role-playing that leaves narrative intricacies more to the player’s taste, rather than giving them a tailored experience the way The Witcher 3 might. Are you going to be a paragon of justice who seeks to curtail the dragon plague, or will you just be a dick and steal everything that’s not nailed down? Is your story one of a hero’s journey, as you advance from lowly prisoner of the Imperials to becoming the most powerful living figure in Skyrim’s history, or is it one of murder, theft, arson and skulduggery? Sometimes it’s nice to have some narrative latitude, a quality Skyrim still largely excels at providing.


GAMEPLAY

The control scheme is relatively unchanged from the original game’s mapping, at least compared between PS3 and PS4. Everything is still relatively smooth – running, jumping, sprinting, Shouting, swinging swords and stealing things – and handles well. Skyrim’s purest delight is still the ability to trek around the world and uncover caves, settlements and hidden clusters of enemies; even if you’re an expert at orienteering, and have every major quest location and Word of Power spot memorised, revisiting it all again has its own kind of exploratory joy amongst all of the current-gen upgrades the game’s received.

The big gameplay addition is mod support for consoles. Now, I couldn’t actually get this to run on my machine – apparently either the game or my PS4 does not like logging into my Bethesda account – but I’ve discovered that such support seems fairly minimal, especially compared to how well the PC crowd have had it for the last five years. One gigabyte is all you get, and apparently the full range of mods that have been developed are not readily available for all platforms. It’s not so much a bother to me since I tend to eschew modding in general, but for those of you who prefer turning the dragons into Thomas the Tank Engine and exchanging your swords for some lightsabers, you may want to take that into account. The three major DLC packages for Skyrim – namely Dragonborn, Hearthfire and Dawnguard – are also included; I didn’t get far enough in my playthrough to start any of them proper, but they appear to be pretty similar to their original console counterparts.

In sum, gameplay is largely unchanged – and, as you might see further in this review, that might not be an entirely good thing.


VISUALS/SOUND AND VOICE ACTING

I said it up top: Skyrim is much prettier now. That’s kind of like saying your chocolate mud cake is now also adorned with Ferreros. But that change comes with its own issues.

A lot of the visual overhaul is subtle at first glance, most notably in the skybox, the terrain and the amount of texture pop-in. The latter’s been drastically reduced (at least it was in my playthrough – I’ve heard about a few issues with framerate dips and lacking textures from other players, but my experience was pretty fine), while the first two are sharper, clearer and more distinct. The ground now shines with snow when you look at it, making it look less like someone slapped white paint on the mountains and more like there is actual snow falling around you. The mountains themselves are still the jagged formation of angles that players experience either fun or frustration (or both) in scaling, and some of the fine details on armour, fires, weapons, dragon hides and water have been made clearer (the water, in particular is much more fluid, no pun intended).

Despite all that, it has to be said that I found the visual changes to not be worth the price of admission. This is something I’ll discuss more in Wrapping Up, but I was now knocked over my Skyrim: Special Edition’s changes in the same manner that the original tripped me up and planted my face in a river of wonder. My reaction may stem from the sheer number of man hours sunk into my original Skyrim playthrough (something in excess of two hundred and fifty hours), but I still think not as much has been done to the visuals to justify a completely new release with the price point it’s gouging out of everyone’s wallets. The map is pretty much the same with some graphical upgrades; the same thing goes for the existing janky NPC movements. To return to my earlier metaphor, having the Ferreros on your cake might make it a more delicious cake, but it’s not a significant alteration; you can still see the original cake under all those nutty chocolates.

I lump the sound in here too, because it’s in a similar boat. The audio clarity is sharper, and it definitely still immerses you in the world (especially if you’ve got massive headphones), but it’s still largely the same soundtrack and voice acting that Skyrim had to begin with. Of particular note is the sheer dearth of voice actors, meaning many characters, both good and evil, have exactly the same voice (and, in some cases, almost exactly the same dialogue). I was hoping they’d at least throw a few new voices into the mix – I mean, it’s jarring to see a bandit running at me with a bloodied battleaxe gunning for my throat, while he’s speaking with the voice of my dear friend Jarl Balgruuf – but apparently that wasn’t on the cards. Skyrim’s sonic qualities are still relatively fine, but they have the same issue as the visuals; I don’t think they were changed enough to justify the re-release.


WRAPPING UP

I want to be clear that I like Skyrim: Special Edition, quite a lot, especially since my Xbox 360 is packed away and I can now easily throw it on the PS4. But my central gripe – which you may potentially think should have no influence on my review, but it does anyway – is the price.

Bethesda, in addition to preventing anyone from securing a review copy more than a day before launch, have put this game out at full price for consoles. This is a game that is half a decade old, which regularly goes on sale on Steam, which you could pick up for last-gen consoles in most second-hand stores (and quite a few first-hand ones, too; my local JB Hi-Fi still has new Skyrim: Game of the Year copies for both 360 and PS3). It’s not an anthology of games the way Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is, nor is it adding anything materially new to the experience beyond some updated visuals and sound. It’s a literal re-release in every sense of the word, almost point for point what we all had on our systems back in 2011.

That price has really soured part of my time with the Special Edition. The graphics are nice, but they’re still built on a lot of the original visuals. The sounds are still great, but they’ve just been sharpened rather than redone. The game, the story, the sidequests, the characters, even a few of the bugs, are quite literally unchanged. Yet, in order to experience everything old that is new again, you’ll need to shell out the same coin as you would for Titanfall 2, or Final Fantasy XV, or Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (if you’re into that sort of thing, in the latter case).

Ultimately, I enjoyed Skyrim: Special Edition. I don’t think it was worth the price or the hype to get to here, and nothing in it is groundbreaking enough for me to urge you to go pick it up for anything other than nostalgia or convenience; even then, I’d suggest waiting for the Boxing Day sales. It was a ton of fun revisiting the best realm of Tamriel, battling dragons and Shouting dudes off cliffs. It just wasn’t fun that was worth the overinflated price of admission.

- Chris 



SKYRIM - ORIGINAL VERSION SCORE


SKYRIM: SPECIAL EDITION SCORE


Skyrim: Special Edition is available now on Playstation 4 and Xbox One.