Grimoire
Cthulhu
Dracula
Abraham Lincoln
Ken
Grimoire

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Alien Invaders, Italian Psi Horror and Body-Shifting Love

April 19th, 2016 | 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 our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

The Housemaid (Film, South Korea, Ki-Young Kim, 1960) Stern piano teacher’s tryst with the family’s obsessive live-in maid sends his claustrophobic household spiralling into mayhem. Acid-drenched domestic noir takes a chainsaw to class hypocrisies.—RDL

Recommended

Attack the Block (Film, UK, Joe Cornish, 2011) Barbarian thug (John Boyega) gains a moral sense while defending his South London council block against alien invaders. Bumping score, effective action, and tight direction overcome a simplistic script to drive in a genre triple. –KH

The Beauty Inside (Film, South Korea, 2015) Furniture maker who wakes up every morning in a new body of unpredictable sex, age, and sometimes nationality falls in love with a woman who struggles to adjust to his condition. Gently pretty romantic drama explores the emotional consequences of its fantastical premise. Adapts a 2012 English language interactive Facebook webisode dealie. —RDL

Dawn of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Monet, Zola, Bernhardt, Eiffel, Debussy, Clemenceau, and Their Friends (Non-fiction, Mary McAuliffe, 2011) Paints a portrait of life in Paris from the aftermath of the Communard uprising to the turn of the 20th century with vignettes of the city’s most notable cultural figures, politicians, and innovators. Solid, readable introductory survey of its chosen time and place.—RDL

Green Room (Film, US, Jeremy Saulnier, 2016) Punk band winds up trapped in a club surrounded by white supremacists intent on wiping them out. Tense, violent survival thriller starring Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and Alia Shawkat, with Patrick Stewart as head bad guy.—RDL (Seen at TIFF ‘15; now in North American theatrical release)

How to Steal the Mona Lisa (Non-fiction, Taylor Bayouth, 2016) Complete and oh-so-gameable plans for detailed heists of six artifacts, from the Mask of Tutankhamen to the Crown of Queen Elizabeth II to oh yes the Mona Lisa. Straight-faced joy for the caper fan. –KH

Shock (Film, Italy, Mario Bava, 1977) 7 year old exhibits ominous supernatural symptoms after his mom and stepfather move back to the house she was living in when his father killed himself. Final film by the maestro of dreamlike horror finds him putting a more than overt psychosexual spin on the late 70s/early 80s psi-horror cycle.—RDL

Good

Black Camelot (Fiction, Duncan Kyle, 1978) In early 1945, a disreputable Irish journalist and a disgraced SS commando team up to exploit an ill-gotten list of British businessmen who had been too friendly with the Nazis once upon a time. Begins as a spy novel, then a crime novel, and by the time it turns into a war thriller — set behind the scenes of the final destruction of Wewelsburg Castle — you’re having enough fun to buy the contrived last act. –KH

divider

Episode 186: You Need Canapes To Have a Secret Society

April 15th, 2016 | Robin

Ask Ken and Robin gets especially educational as Patreon supporter Brent Brown asks us for tips for using RPGs to teach history, home school style.

Tradecraft Hut peers into the espionage scene in Brussels.

How To Write Good looks at influences and how to incorporate them well.

Finally the Consulting Occultist slakes the hankering of Patreon backer Stewart Robertson for info on the Black Dragon Society.

Support the KARTAS Patreon!


Bend reality to your will, but be ready to pay the price, as Atlas Games’ Unknown Armies bubbles up from the supernatural underground for a weird and majestic new Kickstarter campaign.
Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted. If you’re like every roleplayer we know, you strive to outshine others in showing your love of dice. Well, now you can arouse the envy of friends and foes alike with Askfageln’s dazzling coffee table photo art book dedicated to all things pipped and many-sided, Dice: Rendezvous with Randomness. Luxuriate in the photo artistry of Mans Danneman. Grab the book or gorgeous prints through their Kickstarter!

When you assemble your bug-out kit, make sure it includes a copy of Delta Green: Need to Know, the everything-you-need quickstart kick for the classic game of covert agents against the Cthulhu mythos, from our fine friends at Arc Dream Publishing.

divider

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Sake, Sheba, and Momofuku

April 12th, 2016 | 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 our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

The Color Purple (Fiction, Alice Walker, 1982) Woman survives the abuse of her father and husband in the Jim Crow south to experience a sexual and spiritual awakening. In a bid to say something quasi-fresh about a pillar of the contemporary lit canon, I point you to the extreme economy with which it presents its Dickens-scaled narrative.—RDL

Recommended

The Birth of Saké (Film, US, Erik Shirai, 2015) Documentary takes us inside a 140-year old brewery that makes saké the traditional way, a process that requires such round-the-clock attention that the workers leave their families to live communally for six months out of each year. Gorgeously photographed portrait of an exacting group of people who take on the tough job of bringing sublime pleasure into the world.—RDL

A Burglar’s Guide to the City (Non-fiction, Geoff Manaugh, 2016) Examines the relationship between burglary and urban space, eventually casting burglary as a hack (or even a détournement) of architecture. Patchily edited and occasionally drifting into the faux-lyrical, it nonetheless — like the modern city — contains and offers endless possibilities for criminal adventure gaming. –KH

Everybody Wants Some!! (Film, US, Richard Linklater, 2016) Freshman pitcher Jake (Blake Jenner) arrives at Southern Texas University, and at several interlaced epiphanies, in 1980. More thematically focused (virtually every character is a college baseball player) than its ancestor Dazed and Confused, it invites experience (not least via the sous-vide that is the period soundtrack) rather than depending on plot. –KH

The Ezra Klein Show, “David Chang” (Podcast Episode, Ezra Klein, Mar 30 2016) Interview with the iconoclastic yet personable head of the Momofuku empire covers cooking, innovation, edible intellectual property, and the maddening complexity of food ethics. For my money the most illuminating sections address the tricky economics of the fine dining business.—RDL

Good

The Queen of Sheba (Non-fiction, H. St.-John Philby, 1981) Posthumously published raisonné of Arabian legendry about the Queen of Sheba devotes most of its space to the post-Q’uranic tradition of Bilqis, whom Philby identifies as a mythologized Zenobia. Neglects the Ethiopian and Talmudic traditions almost completely, but an interesting bagatelle even for non-Philbiacs. –KH

Not Recommended

Bends (Film, HK, Flora Lau) Woman (Carina Lau)  flails for a new footing after the sudden exit of her rich husband and his money; meanwhile, her chaffeur tries to figure out how to get his wife into Hong Kong to give birth there, avoiding the penalties of the mainland’s one child policy. Exemplifies the slow cinema style in which an underwritten script, uninflected performances and listless, elliptical pacing conveys alleged profundity. At least there’s Christopher Doyle cinematography to look at. —RDL

Sleepy Hollow Season 3 (TV, Fox, 2015-2016) Its delightfully kooky days long behind it, this year’s version of Ichabod and Abbie vs monsters struggles to integrate a group of deadweight new supporting characters, veers through a series of half-realized ideas and finally says “oh, the hell with it.” The two leads keep the show just on the brink of watchability even as it gives off the telltale tang of behind-the-scenes creative turmoil..—RDL

divider

Episode 185: I Don’t Think I Prefer That At All

April 8th, 2016 | Robin

Among My Many Hats is an Egyptian headdress with a distinctly feline aspect, as Ken talks about his installment of Ken Writes About Stuff devoted to Bast.

The Gaming Hut looks at ways to write scenarios to present the information about Game Master Characters GMs need to run their games.

Thanks to Patreon Patron Jeff Kahrs, the Tradecraft Hut finally gets around to that segment on Kim Philby it’s had on the to-do list since forever.

And finally, Ask Ken and Robin fulfills the desire of Kolbe and other Patreon patrons in bringing back the stars of our existential mystery, Brian Harker and Eric, the talking lava lamp he has grudgingly sworn to protect. Well, maybe sworn is a strong choice of words…

Support the KARTAS Patreon!


Bend reality to your will, but be ready to pay the price, as Atlas Games’ Unknown Armies bubbles up from the supernatural underground for a weird and majestic new Kickstarter campaign.
Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted. If you’re like every roleplayer we know, you strive to outshine others in showing your love of dice. Well, now you can arouse the envy of friends and foes alike with Askfageln’s dazzling coffee table photo art book dedicated to all things pipped and many-sided, Dice: Rendezvous with Randomness. Luxuriate in the photo artistry of Mans Danneman. Grab the book or gorgeous prints through their Kickstarter! In a move that surely violates someone’s security clearance, this episode is also brought to you by our friends at Arc Dream Publishing. The Kickstarter for Delta Green: the Roleplaying Game has come to an end, but don’t let that stop you from indulging your fever for this classic game, or that pinnacle of the Cthulhu game zine world, The Unspeakable Oath.

divider

Ken and Robin Consume Media: That Guy You Like Grimly Punches That Other Guy You Like

April 5th, 2016 | 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 our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

Love  Season 1 (TV, Netflix Original, 2016) Dorky on-set tutor (Paul Rust) and radio producer with a troubled past (Gillian Jacobs) awkwardly grapple with their unlikely attraction. We’ve seen the nerdy, anxious male character a ton of times, but it’s the fully dimensioned way the female lead is presented, and a general sense of observational realism, that puts this comedy of discomfort on a higher plane.—RDL

Recommended

Hardcore Henry (Film, Russia, Ilya Naishuller, 2016) Newly awakened cyborg super-soldier shoots, punches, parkours and rail-guns his way through a legion of mooks to stop a telekinetic villain from assembling a world-conquering army. Every time you think this crazypants high-action extravaganza, shot entirely in POV, has gone up to eleven, it finds a whole new eleven.—RDL (seen at TIFF ‘15, when it was just called Hardcore; now in North American theatrical release)

Love & Mercy (Film, US, Bill Pohlad, 2015) 1960s Brian Wilson (Paul Dano) creates his greatest music as mental illness takes an increasing hold on him; his new car salesman girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks) discovers that 1980s Brian Wilson (John Cusack) has been crushed by the influence of his control freak psychiatrist/legal guardian. Breaking the Wilson story into two parts, intertwining music biopic and escape melodrama, ably takes on the challenges of adapting a complicated life to film.—RDL

Narcos Season 1 (TV, Netflix Original, 2015) Crime drama follows the efforts of two DEA agents to take down Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura) from 1981 to 1992. Moura’s slow-boiling charisma anchors the series — the gringos are thinner characters — against a robust verité backdrop of tech, politics, Colombian locations, and criminal empire-building. –KH

Pee Wee’s Big Holiday (Film, US, John Lee, 2016) Pee Wee breaks out of his small town rut for a perilous journey to New York City to attend the birthday party of newfound friend, actor Joe Manganiello. Return of a classic character strikes the requisite balance between ironic sincerity and sincere irony.—RDL

Good

Elsie Venner (Fiction, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr, 1861) Handsome schoolmaster suspects that the eerily beautiful student nursing an unrequited yen for him might just be a lamia. Aggressive skimming of its overwritten passages of description and authorial pontificating reveals an oddly compelling uncanny tale in a romantic, American gothic mode.—RDL

Not Recommended

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Film, US, Zack Snyder, 2016) Reinterpreting the DC Universe as essentially Christianized Norse myth isn’t illegitimate, but you still need a script that makes sense and ideally more functioning scenes than one rescue and one fight. That said, the score (Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL), Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), and most of all Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) occasionally lift BVS out of the dumpster fire that writer David S. Goyer lit and Snyder fanned. –KH

divider

Episode 184: Snorting the Hand of Vecna

April 1st, 2016 | Robin

We start with Ask Ken and Robin, as Patreon supporter Ross Ireland asks us to tell our best crazy game stories.

Then it’s off to the History Hut to consider the troubled Presidency of a guy who really couldn’t get a Supreme Court nominee approved, John Tyler.

In our inaugural edition of Tell Me More, three items from Ken and Robin Consume Media, as approved by our patrons over on the Patreon, get expanded treatment: The Secret History of Wonder Woman, the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, and Deadpool.

Finally current events have again conspired to provide us with one of those fabled Nerdtropes in the News. What strangeness links the International Order of St Hubertus with the Marfa Lights?


Bend reality to your will, but be ready to pay the price, as Atlas Games’ Unknown Armies bubbles up from the supernatural underground for a weird and majestic new Kickstarter campaign.

 

Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted. If you’re like every roleplayer we know, you strive to outshine others in showing your love of dice. Well, now you can arouse the envy of friends and foes alike with Askfageln’s dazzling coffee table photo art book dedicated to all things pipped and many-sided, Dice: Rendezvous with Randomness. Luxuriate in the photo artistry of Mans Danneman. Grab the book or gorgeous prints through their Kickstarter! In a move that surely violates someone’s security clearance, this episode is also brought to you by our friends at Arc Dream Publishing. The Kickstarter for Delta Green: the Roleplaying Game has come to an end, but don’t let that stop you from indulging your fever for this classic game, or that pinnacle of the Cthulhu game zine world, The Unspeakable Oath.

divider

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Cambodian Rock, Turkish Hell, and Yukon Jack

March 29th, 2016 | 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 our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.

Recommended

All Things Must Pass (Film, US, Colin Hanks, 2015) Documentary traces the history of the Tower Records retail chain, from seat-of-the-pants counterculture origins to post-Napster demise. Loving look back at an unconventional private enterprise that forged its misfit employees into the drivers of a vital cultural institution.—RDL

Baskin (Film, Turkey, Can Evrenol, 2016)  Cops called for backup at an abandoned, Ottoman-era police station descend into Hell. Hypnagogic pageant of initiatory creepiness, conjured with micro-budget ingenuity Sam Raimi would be proud of. –RDL (seen at TIFF ‘15; now in limited US theatrical & VOD release)

Bogle Old Vine Red Zinfandel (Wine, California, ~3 yrs ago) This aggressively fruit-forward red zinfandel pairs amazingly well with lamb, duck, or anything else you might pair with a Côtes du Rhône, only at a third of the price. Use a half-cup (with water or beef stock) for the pan sauce, and finish the bottle at the feast. –KH

Brotherhood of Blades (Film, China, Yang Lu, 2014) Trio of assassins gets caught up in fatal intrigue between the young new Emperor and the eunuch clique that wielded power in the previous regime. Melodramatic hooks abound in this lush historical martial arts actioner. —RDL

Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll (Soundtrack, Various Artists, 2014) Soundtrack to the John Pirozzi documentary attempting to recover the lost world of pre-Khmer Rouge Cambodian rock. It doesn’t uncover any diamonds (although “Old Pot Still Cooks Good Rice” by Ros Serey Sothea is pretty damn groovy) but its 19 tracks capture a sound that won’t quite die, and inspire hiraeth for a scene that sadly did. The included PDF liner-notes booklet, by the way, is superb. –KH

The Lobster (Film, Greece, Yorgos Lanthimos, 2016) Sad architect (Colin Farrell) hopes to maintain his humanity in an alternate reality dystopia where unmarrieds have 45 days to find new partners, or be transformed into animals. Alternatively funny and unsettling absurdist satire of the rules societies and individuals fight to impose on romantic love.–RDL (seen at TIFF ‘15; now in limited North American theatrical release)

Muscle Shoals (Film, US, Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier, 2013) Doc profiles record producer Rick Hall and the core set of backing musicians who transformed a small Alabama town into the site of many of the iconic recordings of the 60s and 70s. Another indispensable entry in the classic recording studio sub-genre of rock documentaries.—RDL

So Anyway… (Non-fiction, John Cleese, 2014) Chatty autobiography takes Cleese from childhood to the formation of Monty Python, with an addendum on the group’s recent stadium show reunion. Paints a portrait of himself as a doubt-ridden figure quite unlike the blustering martinets he so often plays, with frequent asides covering his interest in psychology and his almost mathematical approach to surreal comedy.—RDL

Yukon Jack (Spirit, Diageo Canada) Billed as the “Black Sheep of Canadian Liquors”, this 40-proof liqueur made from rye whisky and honey hits the tongue with a rush of sweetness and the tang of candied peel. Alas the label no longer contains a Robert Service quote. What our pal Simon Rogers might term a “pudding whisky”, were he plied with it. Try it with a dash of lime.–RDL

Okay

The Pot Thief Who Studied Billy the Kid (Fiction, J. Michael Orenduff, 2013) “Unlicensed archaeologist” Hubert Schuze accidentally finds a body buried in a cliff dwelling, and misadventures unspool in leisurely fashion. Sedulous homage to Lawrence Block’s “Burglar” novels colors between the lines with lots of New Mexico scenery and food oh and sort of a mystery I guess. –KH

We Install: And Other Stories (Fiction, Harry Turtledove, 2015) With the possible exception of “Down in the Bottomlands,” there’s nothing essential in this collection, sadly including Turtledove’s essay on alternate-history construction “Alternate History: The How-To of What Might Have Been.” His essay on his own debt to Tolkien, “The Ring and I” was my favorite thanks to an inspired speculation about the Fourth Age, but one swallow (nor one amiable story about witches summoning birds) doth not a summer make. –KH

divider

Episode 183: Eaten By a Ghost

March 25th, 2016 | Robin

Pull your swords out of your stones and step into the Gaming Hut for a consideration of the Chosen One trope.

How to Write Good explores a phenomenon Robin calls Nigeling, when you make one character look good by painting others as rubes.

You’ll place great stock in… no, I’m sorry, I can’t. Let’s just say the Food Hut is talking soup and leave it at that.

Then we close on an most unusual Ken’s Time Machine mission: getting a notorious criminal cast as James Bond before he commits his famous crime.


Ken and Robin have oft been accused of being cards. Well, we can deny it no longer. We have become super-limited promo cards for Murder of Crows, Atlas Games’ fast-paced card game of murder and the macabre, for two to five players in the mood for something a little morbid. It’s Edward Gorey meets Caligari, by way of Edgar Allan Poe. Wait a minute, what does that graphic say? I’m not so sure about this… Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted.

If you’re like every roleplayer we know, you strive to outshine others in showing your love of dice. Well, now you can arouse the envy of friends and foes alike with Askfageln’s dazzling coffee table photo art book dedicated to all things pipped and many-sided, Dice: Rendezvous with Randomness. Luxuriate in the photo artistry of Mans Danneman. Grab the book or gorgeous prints through their Kickstarter!

In a move that surely violates someone’s security clearance, this episode is also brought to you by our friends at Arc Dream Publishing. The Kickstarter for Delta Green: the Roleplaying Game has come to an end, but don’t let that stop you from indulging your fever for this classic game, or that pinnacle of the Cthulhu game zine world, The Unspeakable Oath.

divider

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Daredevil, Red Hook, and the Scottish Play

March 22nd, 2016 | 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 our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

Macbeth (Film, UK, Justin Kurzel, 2015) Scottish warlord (Michael Fassbender) finds himself trapped in a waking nightmare by witches’ prophecy and his wife’s (Marion Cotillard) hatred of the world. Tight adaptation of Shakespeare turns medieval Scotland into a dreamlike apocalypse; Jed Kurzel’s lowering score seals you in, and Fassbender and Cotillard force you to believe in it. –KH

The Wannek (Fiction, Jack Vance, 1969) Strange beings and stranger social customs impede the attempts of an Earthman castaway on the planet Tschai to acquire a spaceship.. Second installment of the series formerly known as Planet of Adventure blossoms into 100% Vancianness, as his hero evolves from a jut-jawed American problem solver into a figure of acerbic wiles. You may remember this as Servants of the Wankh, because in 1969 Google wasn’t around to tell you that elsewhere in the English-speaking world your name for an alien race carried unintended connotations. —RDL

Recommended

The Ballad of Black Tom (Fiction, Victor LaValle, 2016) Re-tells Lovecraft’s “Horror at Red Hook” from the perspective of cultist-magus Robert Suydam’s heretofore unknown African-American sidekick. Short, scary, effective. –KH

Daredevil Season 2 (TV, Netflix Original, 2016) Matt Murdock loses himself in his Daredevil persona as he confronts separate conspiracies involving, respectively, a killer vigilante and his ninja ex-girlfriend. Running competing storylines in parallel robs this season of the original’s focus. Scores points however for a radical retake on the Punisher that immediately eclipses all previous interpretations.—RDL

Europe at Midnight (Fiction, David Hutchinson, 2015) Sequel to Europe in Autumn (previously Consumed here) reads more straightforwardly SFnal. The innate Kafkaism of the spy genre mostly substitutes for the previous novel’s weirdness. –KH

Kingsman: The Secret Service (Film, Matthew Vaughn, 2014) Wildly and weirdly reactionary, this over-the-top spy actioner pits a young recruit (Taron Egerton) to the Kingsman order of gentleman spies against a cosmopolitan tech billionaire (Samuel L. Jackson) trying to stop global warming. Propulsive and hyperviolent, a Nolan Batman movie on Bond-flick acid. –KH

Memories of the Sword (Film, South Korea, Park Heung-shik, 2015) Impetuous young martial artist learns the tale of love and betrayal that requires her to seek vengeance against a power-hungry rebel-turned-general (Lee Byung-hun.) Beautifully staged Korean wuxia features a resolution for its melodramatic hook to stand alongside any in Asian action cinema. If it’s in your Netflix region, you’ll  have to search for its original-language title, Hyeomnyeo: Kar-ui gi-eok. —RDL

Old Venus (Fiction, Gardner Dozois & George RR Martin, eds., 2015) Crammed with above-average short stories from Joe Haldeman, Allen Steele, Joe R. Lansdale, Elizabeth Bear, et al. set on the wet, monster-filled, fantastic retro-Venus of Brackett, Kline, et al. My fave: Lavie Tidhar’s beautifully Weird Tales-ish “The Drowned Celestial.” –KH

Good

Duns on Bond (Non-fiction, Jeremy Duns, 2015) Top-notch spy novelist investigates the lost script of The Diamond Spy (based on Fleming’s The Diamond Smugglers), a lost Bond novel by South African thriller writer Geoffrey Jenkins, the lost Ben Hecht script for Casino Royale, and other topics from SmerSH to amnesiac agents. Bump up to Recommended for Fleming die-hards. –KH

Punisher: War Zone (Film, US, Lexi Alexander, 2008) Vigilante’s attack on the mob grotesquely disfigures a gangster (Dominic West), who dubs himself Jigsaw and vows revenge. Alexander directs the hell out of a laboriously plotted script, infusing its ultra-violence with the midnight movie sensibility that built its rep as an unheralded cult fave.—RDL

What We Do in the Shadows (Film, New Zealand, Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi, 2014) Amiable if toothless (sorry) mockumentary about a quartet of vampire flatmates in Wellington, NZ. The steady humor comes almost exclusively from the incongruity of sad-sack supernaturals in petty trouble, although there’s a lot of murder for a romp. –KH

Not Recommended

Flaked Season 1 (TV, Netflix Original, 2016) Detritus manchild (Will Arnett) dwells among the “colorful” characters of Venice, CA making his, and their, lives steadily worse through lies, selfishness, and apathy. Supposedly a drama-comedy, it’s neither, although there are one or two good character turns and one or two funny bits. In four hours. –KH

divider

Episode 182: Much Like the Person In It

March 18th, 2016 | Robin

Now that backers of our exciting and handsome Patreon campaign get priority access to pose questions for the show, we have a bunch of great questions in the hopper. So let’s get to four of them in a special celebratory all-request episode.

In the Gaming Hut Paul Stefko asks us for tips on running games set in artificial realities.

Drew Clowery takes us into the History Hut for a look at the Know Nothings.

Ask Ken and Robin features a Scott Bennett question on keeping a fresh attitude toward older projects.

And finally Steven Hammond revs up Ken’s Time Machine to ask why our sagacious time hero hid a door in King Tut’s tomb from Howard Carter.

To move your questions to the front of the line, hop on board our Patreon!


Ken and Robin have oft been accused of being cards. Well, we can deny it no longer. We have become super-limited promo cards for Murder of Crows, Atlas Games’ fast-paced card game of murder and the macabre, for two to five players in the mood for something a little morbid. It’s Edward Gorey meets Caligari, by way of Edgar Allan Poe. Wait a minute, what does that graphic say? I’m not so sure about this…

Ken fans who did not partake of the Kickstarter can now sink their fangs into the general release of the Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press, consisting of the Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted.

If you’re like every roleplayer we know, you strive to outshine others in showing your love of dice. Well, now you can arouse the envy of friends and foes alike with Askfageln’s dazzling coffee table photo art book dedicated to all things pipped and many-sided, Dice: Rendezvous with Randomness. Luxuriate in the photo artistry of Mans Danneman. Grab the book or gorgeous prints through their Kickstarter!

 

In a move that surely violates someone’s security clearance, this episode is also brought to you by our friends at Arc Dream Publishing. The Kickstarter for Delta Green: the Roleplaying Game has come to an end, but don’t let that stop you from indulging your fever for this classic game, or that pinnacle of the Cthulhu game zine world, The Unspeakable Oath.

divider
Film Cannister
Cartoon Rocket
d8
Flying Clock
Robin
Film Cannister