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Abraham Lincoln
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Grimoire

Episode 289: CHRONOCA$H

April 20th, 2018 | Robin

 

Picking up a thread left hanging a few episodes back, the Gaming Hut looks at ways to make a mundane solution to an apparently occult mystery work satisfyingly for your players.

The Tradecraft Hut peers behind the headlines of the Skripal poisoning case.

In the Cinema Hut Patreon backer Chris Camfield asks for the 101 on heist flicks.

Then Ken’s Time Machine gets back to its core business, the alternate timeline, by finding out what would happen when William Duer’s 1791 attempt to take control of the Bank of the United States succeeds.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


In Atlas Games’ wickedly different cooperative deck-building game Witches of the Revolution, you and your doughty coven fight the American Revolution the way it was really fought: with spells aplenty! Resurrect Ben Franklin, cure Paul Revere of lycanthropy and keep those red-coated witch hunters at bay.

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Atlas Games. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

With your Handlers Guide already at your side, it’s time to assemble some operations to spiral your Delta Green operatives into paranoia and Mythos horror. Delta Green: A Night at the Opera features six terrifying adventures from the conspiratorial minds of Dennis Detwiller, Shane Ivey, and Greg Stolze. Preorder before it’s desperately too late!

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Deadites and Samurai

April 17th, 2018 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 2 (Television, US, STARZ, Craig DiGregorio, 2017) Ash (Bruce Campbell), now allied with Ruby, returns to his hometown and a certain cabin in the woods to battle a new, more human-like threat, the demon Baal. Season 2 moves closer to the spirit of the original, including more sympathetic portrayal of Ash, while gleefully topping itself in the gore department. The ending, apparently a last minute creative shift, leaves a headscratcher for Season 3 to redeem . —RDL

Commandos Strike at Dawn (Film, US, John Farrow, 1942) After the Nazi takeover of Norway, a mild-mannered fisheries scientist (Paul Muni) forms a resistance cell. Gripping drama pulls no propaganda punches, as was typical of the films Hollywood made about the war, during the war. With story by C. S. Forester.—RDL

Eleven Samurai (Film, Japan, Eiichi Kudo, 1967) Retainers of a falsely punished clan realize that the man responsible for their fate, the heedless and violent son of the shogun, needs killing. Tense and moody mix of Edo politics and samurai action.—RDL

In Order of Disappearance (Film, Norway, Hans Petter Moland, 2016) When drug dealers kill his son, a taciturn snow plow operator (Stellan Skarsgard) starts killing his way up the local gangster food chain, sparking an ever-widening cycle of violence. Wintry, mordant take on the vigilante revenge genre.—RDL

The Power House (Fiction, William Haggard, 1967) A left-wing MP’s failed defection leads to a war between London gambling houses, and Colonel Russell of the Security Executive must keep the lid on all of it. Crime and party politics burst in on Haggard’s cozy world, to the benefit of pacing. Haggard also changes up his standard class signifiers somewhat in the interest of properly blackguarding a thinly-disguised Harold Wilson. The resulting discord makes Haggard’s plotting even more satisfying. –KH

Good

A Cool Day For Killing (Fiction, William Haggard, 1968) Colonel Russell of the Security Executive must protect the English heirs to the ruling family of the Sultanate of Shahaddin from Chinese agents in this genuinely thrilling yarn. Although the two sympathetic heirs are female and half-Malay, respectively, 21st-century audiences may jib at Haggard’s gender and ethnic essentialism; spy-fi fans may cavil at the relative lack of challenge posed by Russell’s Chinese opposite number. –KH

Okay

Baadshaho (Film, India, Milan Luthria, 2017) During the Emergency in 1975, Princess Gitanjali (Ileana d’Cruz) depends on her loyal bodyguard Bhawani (Ajay Devgan) to heist her fortune in gold when crooked government officials seize it. Relatively competent, if leisurely paced, period heist thriller literally goes up in a cloud of dust in the abrupt and opaque final act. –KH

Truffle Boy: My Unexpected Journey Through the Exotic Food Underground (Nonfiction, Ian Purkayastha with Kevin West, 2016) Truffle supplier to the NYC restaurant elite recounts his quest for high-end fungus in an industry rife with risk and deception. Requires the reader to sniff out salient nuggets of food biz info from a field of anodyne autobiography.—RDL

Two Evil Eyes (Film, Italy/US, George Romero and Dario Argento, 1990) Two hour-long films based on Poe stories: in Romero’s “Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar,” he ties Poe’s grotesque to an EC Horror-style crime-comeuppance story, while Argento’s “The Black Cat” nestles the title story amidst ample other Poe callouts. Romero’s half is competent enough, even Good, albeit mostly marking time to the weird end; Argento neither provides Poe’s portrait of a madman (Harvey Keitel) nor digs into the notion of a Poe universe unspooling around him. Especially for Argento fans, this is Not Recommended. –KH

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Episode 288: Grift the Pope

April 13th, 2018 | Robin

Another all-request episode begins in the Gaming Hut, as Patreon backer Ruth Tillman asks us how we might game Annihilation in both its film and novel iterations.

We head into the Book Hut at the behest of backer Sean Gomez, who wants to know more about Ken’s recent William Haggard fixation and spy thriller inspiration for Fall of DELTA GREEN more generally.

In Ask Ken and Robin backer Louis Sylvester asks Robin, and also Ken, about devices to incorporate weird sounds and other subtle horror moments into games and fiction.

Finally, in the History Hut, with indulgences purchased by backer Jacob Ansari, we investigate the career of the pretender-monk Paul Palaiologos Tagaris.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.

 


In Atlas Games’ wickedly different cooperative deck-building game Witches of the Revolution, you and your doughty coven fight the American Revolution the way it was really fought: with spells aplenty! Resurrect Ben Franklin, cure Paul Revere of lycanthropy and keep those red-coated witch hunters at bay.

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Atlas Games. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

With your Handlers Guide already at your side, it’s time to assemble some operations to spiral your Delta Green operatives into paranoia and Mythos horror. Delta Green: A Night at the Opera features six terrifying adventures from the conspiratorial minds of Dennis Detwiller, Shane Ivey, and Greg Stolze. Preorder before it’s desperately too late!

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: More Dogs, More Stalin, More Haggard

April 10th, 2018 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

The Death of Stalin (Film, UK, Armando Iannucci, 2017) As they prepare for Stalin’s funeral (spoiler),, frantic members of his inner circle, portrayed with comic relish by Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Isaacs and Michael Palin, scheme for survival as the power vacuum closes. Iannucci’s “The Thick of It” / “Veep” style achieves apotheosis by tackling a circumstance where the stakes go all the way up to murder.—RDL

The Hard Sell (Fiction, William Haggard, 1965) Colonel Russell of the Security Executive investigates sabotage and delays of a British jet prototype being built in Italy — where he has no jurisdiction. A judicious blend of political machinations and policier maneuver steadily speeds the pace of this novel into genuine thriller territory, albeit at the discreet remove Haggard prefers. Maybe the ending wraps up a little too neatly, but that’s hardly a deal breaker. –KH

Isle of Dogs (Film, US, Wes Anderson, 2018) Exiled to Trash Island off the coast of Megasaki in retrofuture Japan, a pack of dogs (Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray) help crashed 12-year-old pilot Atari (Kyou Rankin) search for his own exiled dog. Over and above the strong script and metronomically quirky Anderson-company performances, the most impressive thing about this stop-motion animation adventure quest is its sheer crafted beauty. Anderson surpasses Fantastic Mr. Fox and turns his obsessive-compulsive auteurism into a strength instead of a crutch. –KH

A Man and a Woman (Film, France, Claude Lelouch, 1966) Attraction sparks between two single parents whose kids attend the same boarding school, a script supervisor (Anouk Aimée) and a race car driver (Jean-Louis Trintignant.) Beguiling romance in which the obstacles keeping the lovers apart take a back seat to New Wave formal experimentation and early 60s chic.—RDL

The Yacoubian Building (Fiction, Alaa Al Aswany, 2002) As Gulf War I begins elsewhere in the region, Cairo residents of high and low status, united by a connection to the titular building, find their daily struggles worsened by the brushes with dictatorial power. Revisits the social realist tradition of Egyptian fiction within the context of recent politics.—RDL

The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling (Television, HBO, Judd Apatow, 2018) Documentary miniseries lovingly portrays the rise and ensuing struggle of Shandling, creator of the seminal Larry Sanders Show and previous cult hit It’s Garry Shandling’s Show. Hilarious and heartbreaking bio of a wounded guy who sought solace in perfectionism, and found it in Buddhist meditation.—RDL.

Okay

The Emperor’s Candlesticks (Film, US, George Fitzmaurice, 1937) Russian spy (Luise Rainer) and Polish agent (William Powell) fall in love while racing to deliver competing messages to the czar. Frothy Continental espionage confection expends much screen time on the complexities of its titular McGuffin. Rainer is always a bit of a dud, especially when contrasted with the infinitely more present Maureen O’Sullivan, who appears in a secondary role.—RDL

I, Vampire (Comics, DC, Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino, 2011-2013) Collected in three trade paperbacks, this relaunch of J.M. deMatteis’ emo action vampire hero Andrew Bennett overlaps a literally apocalyptic story of Andrew and his murderous lover Mary with DC’s magical supers and John Constantine and Batman and Stormwatch for some reason. The result is a cascading series of dei ex machina and over-the-top writing that vitiates the characters’ humanity while not selling their epic status. –KH

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Episode 287: In League With Leopard Seals

April 6th, 2018 | Robin

Robin tries out a new maxim in That Thing I Always Say: in a game RPG session, the only way to go off track is a dead end.

In The Culture of Gaming, we look at gatekeeping, which rears its head once more with the rise of streamed play.

Finally, in Ken’s Bookshelf, our resident bibliomane caresses the teetering pile of books he liberated from Moe’s Books in the Bay Area.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


In Atlas Games’ wickedly different cooperative deck-building game Witches of the Revolution, you and your doughty coven fight the American Revolution the way it was really fought: with spells aplenty! Resurrect Ben Franklin, cure Paul Revere of lycanthropy and keep those red-coated witch hunters at bay.

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Atlas Games. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

With your Handlers Guide already at your side, it’s time to assemble some operations to spiral your Delta Green operatives into paranoia and Mythos horror. Delta Green: A Night at the Opera features six terrifying adventures from the conspiratorial minds of Dennis Detwiller, Shane Ivey, and Greg Stolze. Preorder before it’s desperately too late!

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Futura Dogs

April 3rd, 2018 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

Annihilation (Fiction, Jeff VanderMeer, 2014) A nameless biologist encounters the mysteries of Area X, including the mystery of its effect on her. Not many Gothics focus on ennui and introversion, for obvious reasons, and it’s a tribute to VanderMeer’s prose style and inventive blend of nature writing and the eerie that this one remains compelling. High concepts of free will, perception, and other dimensions surface briefly and vanish again, much like the creatures in the swamps of the Southern Reach. –KH

The Arena (Fiction, William Haggard, 1961) Soft-spoken spymaster works discreetly behind the scenes to prevent a foreign enemy from acquiring an old-school merchant bank, which in turn controls the firm behind a strategic radar technology. Coolly unheightened spy thriller elements provide a vessel for an examination of class mores and mannerisms as minutely detailed as anything this side of Jane Austen.—RDL

Franca: Chaos and Creation (Film, US/Italy, Francesco Carrozzini, 2016) Documentarian profiles his mother, Franca Sozzani, who remade Vogue Italia into a showcase for striking, often disturbing art photography blending fashion with provocation. The family relationship lends emotional throughline to a rich barrage of challenging, glamourous images tinged with a latent weird horror sensibility.—RDL

Isle of Dogs (Film, US, Wes Anderson, 2018) Pack of canines exiled to a trash island off retrofuture Japan help the plucky distant nephew of a sinister politico search for his beloved short-haired Oceanic speckle-eared sport hound. Stop-motion animated adventure is both Anderson’s most conventionally structured film, and the most whimsical and charming parable about the ever-present specter of genocide one could imagine. —RDL

Legion Season 1 (Television, US, FX, 2017) Mental patient David Haller (Dan Stevens) slowly discovers his mutant heritage while forces outside and inside attempt to use him and/or kill him. Formally audacious and beautifully styled, and best of all exactly the right length, Legion could not be more different from the molasses-and-murk Netflix school of Marvel TV. Outside Stevens and his anima (played by Aubrey Plaza) the casting is uneven, but the writing and the production design carry each episode from strength to strength. –KH

Texts From Jane Eyre (Nonfiction, Mallory Ortberg, 2014) Ortberg reduces the great works of literature (and the Sweet Valley High novels) to childish, needy, downright insane text messages — usually to another character who responds with befuddlement, disinterest, or codependent mania. The gag shouldn’t work twice, but in the hands of possibly the greatest humorist of the 21st century, it almost always lands. Reading the texts all straight through is like eating a whole pie — unhealthy, but sooo much fun. –KH

Tom at the Farm (Film, Canada, Xavier Dolan, 2013) Young Montrealer (Xavier Dolan) in rural Quebec to attend the funeral of his boyfriend falls into a twisted relationship with the dead man’s menacing brother. The fear of gay-bashing adds a layer of logic to the French rural horror sub-genre in his moody, arresting journey into Hitchcockian dread.—RDL

Good

TV (The Book) (Nonfiction, Mark Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz, 2016) Under the guise of listing “the 100 greatest American shows of all time,” (from The Simpsons to Terriers, since you asked) Sepinwall and Seitz compile an attempt at a canon for the least canonized of media. Much of their critical insight boils down to nothing much more than “we really liked it,” but TV criticism as a field is still in its infancy. The usual sins of presentism, me-tooism, and Bochco-ism notwithstanding, they do an acceptable job of it — they do pick the correct Star Trek as the best one, for example (TOS at #62). –KH

Not Recommended

Kidnapped (Film, Italy, Mario Bava, 1974) Ultraviolent knuckleheads on the run after an payroll robbery take a woman hostage, then hijack a car driven by a man with a sick child. When you take the politics out of poliziotteschi, all you have left is nihilistic depravity, here realized with unwelcome brio by horror master Bava. Better encapsulated by its alternate title, Rabid Dogs.—RDL

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Episode 286: Guy Across the Stupid Mountain

March 30th, 2018 | Robin

 

Keep a close eye on your open beverage as the Gaming Hut spins a Fall of DELTA GREEN arc from that most notorious of covert programs, MKULTRA.

The Food Hut goes sequel for Instant Pot II: The Instant Pottening.

Look over your shoulder for copycats as the Horror Hut investigates doppelgangers and body snatchers.

One more warning: keep swords safely stored in their stones as the Eliptony Hut gives the 101 on historical Arthur theories. [Here’s Dr. Caitlin Green’s superb fun-ruiner deluxe/grownup literature review as mentioned at the end of this segment: The Historicity and Historicisation of Arthur” –KH]

Want to pose a question to the show?

Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon! Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


In Atlas Games’ wickedly different cooperative deck-building game Witches of the Revolution, you and your doughty coven fight the American Revolution the way it was really fought: with spells aplenty! Resurrect Ben Franklin, cure Paul Revere of lycanthropy and keep those red-coated witch hunters at bay.

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Atlas Games. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

With your Handlers Guide already at your side, it’s time to assemble some operations to spiral your Delta Green operatives into paranoia and Mythos horror. Delta Green: A Night at the Opera features six terrifying adventures from the conspiratorial minds of Dennis Detwiller, Shane Ivey, and Greg Stolze. Preorder before it’s desperately too late!

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Raidin’ Tombs and Retailin’ Games

March 27th, 2018 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-

looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

The Arena (Fiction, William Haggard, 1961) Colonel Russell of the Security Executive must protect a radar company from acquisition by a foreign industrial combine. The banker opposed to the deal takes center stage in this third of Haggard’s cozy spy thrillers, the plot turning on the state of his marriage and health as much as on the machinations of Germans and (brrr) arrivistes. The result is affecting and original, if not quite thrilling per se. –KH

The Death of Stalin (Film, France/UK/Belgium, Armando Iannucci, 2018) Contemptible, monstrous weasels Beria (Simon Russell Beale), Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), and Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) maneuver for power following the titular death of Stalin in 1953. This black farce unspools at a lickety-split pace, with dialogue as crackling as it is craven. Iannucci’s decision to forego cod-Russian accents keeps comic delivery on key while adding just the right surreal tinge to the dramatically collapsed historical events. Jason Isaacs’ Yorkshire-voiced bully Marshal Zhukov steals every scene, but Michael Palin’s heartbreakingly sad and funny turn as true believer Molotov may be the best in show. –KH

The Moving Target (Fiction, Ross Macdonald, 1949) LA private eye Lew Archer investigates a wayward businessman’s disappearance at the behest of a wife who only half wants him back. In the first of his 18 Archer novels, Macdonald follows the Chandler hardboiled template, but with less stylized prose and characterization. GMs looking for inspiration for their own Cthulhu Confidential scenarios might stroke their chins at the crooked astrologer and the shady Mithras cultist.—RDL

Good

Friendly Local Game Store (Nonfiction, Gary L. Ray, 2018) The owner of Black Diamond Games in Concord, CA clearly lays out the basics of what it takes to create, run, and manage a retail hobby game store as a small business, sharing both the airy “bistro math” of small business plans and some real costs and revenues (and narratives) from his own million-dollar-a-year emporium. Everyone in gaming should know what it takes to keep pumping those cards and dice and players and other corpuscles into the body of this idiosyncratic (to say the least) industry. If you’re a hobby retailer, or interested in starting a game store yourself (or in buying one from someone less interested) vault this book up to highly Recommended. –KH

Tomb Raider (Film, US, Roar Uthaug, 2018) Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) travels to the mysterious island of Yamatai in search of her vanished father (Dominic West) only to discover a tomb in the process of being raided by Matthias Vogel (Walton Goggins). Vikander plays the role with a sort of wounded curiosity rather than Angelina Jolie’s feral confidence, but she plays her weaker part well and jungle archaeology adventure remains wonderful whoever wears the blue tank top (or the fedora). Not quite the juicy pulp of the 2001 film, but it manages to infuse the depressing reboot of the game with a modicum of joy. –KH

The Unquiet Sleep (Fiction, William Haggard, 1962) Colonel Russell of the Security Executive must deal with a nascent drug ring peddling a not-yet-illegal pharmaceutical that implicates a government official. Haggard slightly titrates this cozy spy thriller with action, but gives in a bit too much to the temptation to vindicate his worldview through his protagonists to sell the emotional weight he wants. –KH

Okay

Death Watch (Film, France/UK, Bertrand Tavernier, 1980) Outfitted with camera eyes by his shifty reality TV producer (Harry Dean Stanton), a hard-knuckle reporter (Harvey Keitel) surreptitiously records a novelist (Romy Schneider) as she undergoes a rare event—death by disease. Listless 70s pacing drains the energy from this prescient, low-tech SF drama.—RDL

Death Wish (Film, US, Eli Roth, 2018) Chicago surgeon Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) becomes a murderous vigilante after home invaders kill his wife and leave his daughter in a coma. Though it nods toward the traumatized protagonist of Brian Garfield’s original novel, the script eventually becomes a straight-up revenge hunt. Despite his clear love of 70s film, Roth shies away from the anarchic power of the 1974 Charles Bronson movie in favor of competent domestic drama. Worse yet, he aims in so many more interesting directions in passing: Kersey as surgeon of society’s ills, vigilantism as meme, or even Kersey as cinematic serial killer. –KH

The X-Files Season 11 (Television, US, Chris Carter, FOX, 2018) Mulder and Scully continue to investigate eliptonic threats as the Cigarette Smoking Man hunts for their long-lost genetic hybrid son. With episodes ranging from middling to atrocious—and premise-violating—this faded reprise ekes its way to mediocrity with its sweet portrayal of the middle-aged Scully-Mulder relationship and a less-awful capper to the saga than we’ve had to date.—RDL

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Episode 285: 2) Get In Too Deep

March 23rd, 2018 | Robin

You have nothing to lose but your chains, and also your handcuffs, and possibly also your orange prison scrubs, as the Gaming Hut shows you what to do the next time your PC gets captured.

The Tradecraft Hut probes off-books financial arrangements in covert operations, as inspired by a request from Patreon backer Chris Sellers. Chris wants us to turn this real-life ATF finagle into fodder for Night’s Black Agents and Fall of Delta Green.

Backer Michael Maneval, meanwhile, wants the PCs to become meddling kids. In Ask Ken and Robin we mull the ingredients needed to run a Scooby-Doo game.

Finally, in Ken’s Time Machine, backer Daniel Fidelman gets back to the classic premise of the segment to ask what our chrono-hero would have to do to add native American states to the American map.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


In Atlas Games’ wickedly different cooperative deck-building game Witches of the Revolution, you and your doughty coven fight the American Revolution the way it was really fought: with spells aplenty! Resurrect Ben Franklin, cure Paul Revere of lycanthropy and keep those red-coated witch hunters at bay.

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Atlas Games. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Navigate your love of the Lone Wolf game books and/or fantasy inspired by medieval Italy with the Sommerlund Map set Kickstarter from Askfageln. Revel in 1o gorgeous maps inspired by Joe Dever’s classic fantasy setting and the city of Bologna.

With your Handlers Guide already at your side, it’s time to assemble some operations to spiral your Delta Green operatives into paranoia and Mythos horror. Delta Green: A Night at the Opera features six terrifying adventures from the conspiratorial minds of Dennis Detwiller, Shane Ivey, and Greg Stolze. Preorder before it’s desperately too late!

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Cozy Spies and Underground Bunkers

March 20th, 2018 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

Brigsby Bear (Film, US, Dave McCary, 2017) Man (Kyle Mooney) reunited with his biological family after being raised in an underground bunker by the couple (Mark Hamill, Jane Adams) who kidnapped him as a baby resolves to create a final episode of the weirdo kid’s show they made to mold him into a mathematician. Dark, bizarre comedy premise realized with a surprising sweetness and generosity of characterization.—RDL

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Film, US, Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014) In a desolate Iranian city, a young man with a junkie father crosses paths with a chador-clad, skateboarding vampire girl. Hip and haunting mood piece scores with commanding widescreen compositions, tension-filled stillness, and b&w photography done right.—RDL

Good

Confession (Film, US, Joe May, 1937) Nightclub chanteuse (Kay Francis) refuses to reveal why she shot a caddish composer (Basil Rathbone) as he made a play for a naive music student (Jane Bryan.) Swirling his camera positions like a proto-Scorsese, May lets the melodrama fly, arcing from fizzy Continental confection to expressionistic dread . When Basil Rathbone gets shot dead by a woman at the end of the first act, the question is not whether he deserved it, but how.—RDL

Slow Burner (Fiction, William Haggard, 1958) Colonel Russell of the Security Executive must trace the source of a mysterious radiation signal near London despite bureaucratic interference. If there is a spy novel equivalent of the “cozy mystery” this is it, concerned as much with suits, furniture, and good breeding as it is with the almost abstract threat of Russians or nuclear science. Haggard was praised for writing “Bond novels from M’s perspective” — his first novel doesn’t live up to that billing, but the tone shows originality and the plot shows promise. –KH

This is Not What I Expected (Film, Hong Kong/China, Derek Hui, 2017) Control freak hotel tycoon (Takeshi Kaneshiro) doesn’t suspect that the chef whose food obsesses him is also the irrepressible young woman (Dongyu Zhou) who draws him into a chaos and humiliation whenever they meet. Movie stars being charming, mouth-watering food scenes and an adorable pooch—what else do you need from a romantic comedy?—RDL

Venetian Blind (Fiction, William Haggard, 1959) Colonel Russell of the Security Executive must find the source of the leak in Britain’s Negative Gravity research, while training his own replacement — the secret rival of the program’s lead engineer. Another cozy spy thriller, with the same abstract air and focus on personalities and bureaucracy over action as his debut. This one has a strong plot with rather a nice ending. –KH

Okay

10 Cloverfield Lane (Film, US, Dan Trachtenberg, 2016) Aspiring fashion designer (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up in an underground bunker, whose tightly-wound prepper owner (John Goodman) claims that civilization has been destroyed above them. Not so much a genre mash-up as three acts of expected confinement thriller beats duct-taped to the end of a kaiju flick. Great to see Goodman given the space to layer one of his ogre characters, though.—RDL

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Film Cannister
Cartoon Rocket
d8
Flying Clock
Robin
Film Cannister