Grimoire
Cthulhu
Dracula
Abraham Lincoln
Ken
Grimoire

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Hollywood Archaeology and new Charlie Kaufman

September 15th, 2020 | 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

Dolce Vita Confidential: Fellini, Loren, Pucci, Paparazzi, and the Swinging High Life of 1950s Rome (Nonfiction, Shawn Levy, 2016) Scintillating, anecdote-rich history of the economic and cultural recovery that transformed Rome (with an assist from Florence) from war-ravaged wrecks to the epitome of late fifties and early sixties cool, from motoring to fashion to scandal rags and the movies.—RDL

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Film, US, Charlie Kaufman, 2020) Despite her doubting inner monologue, a young woman (Jessie Buckley) accompanies her boyfriend (Jesse Plemons) on a visit to his parents. Fans of Kaufman’s elliptical, writerly scripts and form-breaking direction get what they want here, and they get it good. Buckley and Plemons anchor what could otherwise be empty stunting in felt, understood humanity. –KH

Looting Spiro Mounds: An American King Tut’s Tomb (Nonfiction, David La Vere, 2007) Tells the stories in parallel of the building (by Caddoan priest-kings) and looting (by Depression-stricken Okies) of the greatest archaeological find north of the Rio Grande, the Spiro Mounds in Oklahoma. Stronger on the looting than the building, but then the looters left documentary evidence behind, and destroyed most of the evidence the builders left. –KH

The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille (Film, US, Peter Brosnan, 2016) Filmmaker documents his four-decade quest to excavate the buried Pharoah’s City set from Cecil B. De Mille’s 1925 version of The Ten Commandments from a Santa Barbara sand dune. A dizzying rush of colliding cultural history connections meets an epic battle against municipal red tape.

The Platform (Film, Spain, Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, 2019) Book lover (Ivan Massagué) seeking no-effort diploma accepts imprisonment in a nightmarish complex where inmates eat from a platform covered with food that steadily depletes as it descends between hundreds of floors. Claustrophobic grand guignol shows that there is no allegory too heavy-handed for the extreme cinema genre.—RDL

Good

#Alive (Film, South Korea, Cho Il-Hyung, 2020) Gamerboi Jun-woo (Yoo Ah-in) finds himself the very unprepared survivor of a fast-zombie outbreak in Seoul. A perfectly creditable zombie film with nothing particularly original or interesting to say, it squanders its interesting “apartment of Robinson Crusoe, with streaming” survival set-up and (except for one scene) Yoo’s acting chops, but does nothing very wrong either. –KH

Every Single Nero Wolfe Story (Fiction, Rex Stout, 1934-1975) On a lark in January I bought a bunch of Nero Wolfe books cheap, and as lockdown drove me deeper into comfort reading I read (or re-read) all 33 novels and 41 shorter works starring the famously lazy, corpulent detective. Stout’s greater creation was Archie Goodwin, an engaging viewpoint character who also thinks the hero is a jerk; his great gift was the ability to riff on his characters entertainingly enough to get you through a (usually fairly routine) plot shuffle very much including palmed cards. Start with The Silent Speaker or The Doorbell Rang (both Recommended) and see if you want to deal yourself in. –KH

The Freshour Cylinders (Fiction, Speer Morgan, 1998) Half-Native county prosecutor in 1935 Fort Smith, Arkansas investigates the murder of a collector of artifacts from the Spiro Mounds. More than adequate noir draws a detailed picture of Depression Oklahoma, with a possible lost tribe to boot. Sadly the style is only Good at best; I counted one line of really vibrant prose. –KH

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Episode 412: Dumas’ Salads

September 11th, 2020 | Robin

The Gaming Hut gets into a crossover mood as beloved Patreon backer Adam Grotjohn wants to know how to turn player characters from Vampire: the Masquerade into the antagonists for Night’s Black Agents.

In the Cinema Hut we each nominate someone as moviedom’s least likely major star.

The Food Hut turns some pages as we name our favorite food books.

And finally stalwart Patreon backer Pedro Garcia enters the History Hut for the story of Boris Skossyreff, whose self-proclaimed reign as Andorra’s king lasted for 13 days.

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-person Renaissance Faires are off the table for the moment, but what can be on your table, at a limited-time steal price is Ren Faire, Atlas Games’ hilarious card game of competitive historical costuming. Grab it for a stunning 40% off with the voucher code PANTALOONS.

Send your 13th Age characters deep below the Dragon Empire, and even deeper into danger, with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s Book of the Underworld. Get all the subterranean exploration and menace your adventurers can handle at the Pelgrane Press store. For a limited time only, get 10% off print or PDF with the voucher code STUFFWORLD.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Suit up, agents of Delta Green. Your battle to save humanity from unnatural horrors is going beyond the Beltway. Delta Green: The Labyrinth is now shipping to a secure dead drop near you. Written by Delta Green co-creator John Scott Tynes, this all-new collection of organizations dives deep into the fissures of America in the new millennium.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Ken Leaves the House For Tenet

September 8th, 2020 | 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.

The Pinnacle

Tenet (Film, US, Christopher Nolan, 2020) A CIA agent (John David Washington) enters an even shadowier war between a covert agency in the present and a future that weaponizes reverse-entropy. Nolan’s Mannerist blend of grounding (“realism” isn’t the word) and myth gorgeously alloys spy-fi to philosophy, by way of half a dozen precisely realized set pieces. Plus all the BWOOOMMMM you could ever hope for; see it in its native IMAX where and if you can for the full experience. –KH

Recommended

Get on Up (Film, US, Tate Taylor, 2014) Achronological biopic dramatizes the life of R & B and funk superstar James Brown (Chadwick Boseman), tracing his notorious hard edges to childhood abandonment and poverty. The authority of Boseman’s performance unifies a difficult narrative line.—RDL

Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown (Film, US, Alex Gibney, 2014) For a deeper look at Brown’s music, check out the companion piece documentary, featuring extensive performance clips and interviews with the genius sidemen he frequently bullied and exploited. Includes his Nixon endorsement, which the biopic somehow doesn’t get around to. Archival interviews with Brown show that his speaking voice wasn’t nearly as affected as the Boseman version.—RDL

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Film, France, Céline Sciamma, 2019) Impossible love kindles when a woman (Noémie Merlant) is hired to covertly paint a portrait of a young noble (Adèle Haenel), to be sent to her prospective husband. Allusions to the Gothic lap at the corners of this romantic drama, acted with intense restraint and photographed with a beauty simultaneously lush and stark.—RDL

Good

Phantom Raiders (Film, US, Jacques Tourneur, 1940) Suave detective Nick Carter (Walter Pidgeon) interrupts his Panama vacation to investigate a series of ship bombings. In the second of three Carter flicks, MGM applies the comedy-mystery tone of The Thin Man to another series character, with Tourneur giving shape and snap to a script that mixes kookiness with mass murder.—RDL

Warren William: Magnificent Scoundrel of Pre-Code Hollywood (Nonfiction, John Stangeland, 2011) Solid if often overly detailed biography of the suave, pencil-moustached actor who hit it big playing sophisticated anti-heroes in the early 30s and later played such series characters as Perry Mason, Philo Vance and the Lone Wolf. Off-screen, William turns out to have been a lovely man who adored terriers, was faithful to his wife, and invented, among other things, a motorized picnic table.—RDL

Okay

Project Power (Film, US, Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman, 2020) A Special Forces ex-Major (Jamie Foxx), a New Orleans cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and a plucky drug dealer (Dominique Fishback) come together hunting the source of a drug that gives users unpredictable superpowers for five minutes. Foxx’s charisma and one or three original touches give this over-long, under-plotted, straight-to-cable grind slightly more than five minutes of power. –KH

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Episode 411: Chief Plant Health Officer

September 4th, 2020 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut, beloved Patreon backer Philippe Marcil asks how you start with Earth when it is full of racism, sexism, and a plethora of other isms.

A man in a barrel pleads with a man not in a barrel in the latest installment of that most mercantile of huts, the T-Shirt Justification Hut.

Ripped From the Headlines answers to green-thumbed backer Jamie Twine, who alerts us to the international unsolicited seeds mystery.

Finally the Consulting Occultist brandishes his planchette to explain the Ouija board and its inventor, Elijah Bond.

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-person Renaissance Faires are off the table for the moment, but what can be on your table, at a limited-time steal price is Ren Faire, Atlas Games’ hilarious card game of competitive historical costuming. Grab it for a stunning 40% off with the voucher code PANTALOONS.

Send your 13th Age characters deep below the Dragon Empire, and even deeper into danger, with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s Book of the Underworld. Get all the subterranean exploration and menace your adventurers can handle at the Pelgrane Press store. For a limited time only, get 10% off print or PDF with the voucher code STUFFWORLD.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Suit up, agents of Delta Green. Your battle to save humanity from unnatural horrors is going beyond the Beltway. Delta Green: The Labyrinth is now shipping to a secure dead drop near you. Written by Delta Green co-creator John Scott Tynes, this all-new collection of organizations dives deep into the fissures of America in the new millennium.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Either Of Us Could Be Mad at the New Perry Mason, But Only One of Us Watched It

September 1st, 2020 | 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

At Home at the Castle: Lifestyles at the Medieval Strongholds of Östergötland, AD 1200-1530 (Nonfiction, Martin Rundkvist, 2019) Just what it says in the subtitle, an archaeologically-informed social history of daily life in late-medieval Swedish castles. Attractively presented dig reports and extrapolations join with just enough speculation to spark creative identification; specific treatments of seven strongholds provide both longitudinal data and gameable variety. –KH [Disclosure: Martin Rundkvist is a beloved Patreon backer of our podcast, and provided a copy for review]

Bill & Ted Face the Music (Film, US, Dean Parisot, 2020) Aided by daughters (Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine) who have not fallen far from the tree, middle-aged rockers Bill & Ted (Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves) get one more chance to write the song that prevents time and space from collapsing. Returning writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson preserve the irrepressible positivity of the original flicks as Parisot keeps the affable proceedings on a brisk pace.—RDL

Forever Season 1 (Television, US, Alan Yang & Matthew Hubbard, 2018) As their marriage goes stale, routine-loving Oscar (Fred Armisen) and restless June (Maya Rudolph) die and are reunited in a weirdly quotidian afterlife. Touching, melancholy comedy probes the compromises between marriage and selfhood.—RDL

Gary Gulman: The Great Depresh (Stand-up, HBO, Michael Bonfiglio, 2019) Intersperses interview and older footage with an hour of stand-up on the topic of Gulman’s clinical depression, and on his time in the psych ward (“Electro-convulsive therapy is at best a lateral euphemism”). Along with the personal impact of the story, worth watching for the way Gulman braids and paces two traditions of stand-up: the one-man confessional and his regular serial-gag routine. –KH

Les Misérables (Film, France, Ladj Ly, 2019) Cop transferred in from the provinces (Damien Bonnard) joins a special squad on urban harassment duty as a hot summer day threatens the delicate informal power balance in a marginalized banlieue. French crime films have been vehicles for social realism since the beginning of the sound era, a tradition this tense, fly-on-the-wall police patrol narrative transposes to the present day.—RDL

Good

The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink (Fiction, Erle Stanley Gardner, 1952) A dinner out with Della Street leads crime-solving attorney Perry Mason into a mystery involving a waitress on the run from a hit attempt. Crisp dialogue drives an economical exercise in procedural problem-solving, albeit with a somewhat rushed ultimate revelation.—RDL

Ire-Inspiring

Perry Mason Season 1 (Television, US, Ron Fitzgerald & Rolin Jones, HBO, 2020)  Self-pitying private eye (Matthew Rhys) takes on a larger than expected role in a child murder case defended by his boss and mentor, a declining attorney (John Lithgow.) Gloomy, histrionic reimagining epitomizes today’s endemic misunderstanding of the iconic hero structure, not only portraying Mason as a tantrum-throwing mope, but actively thumbing its nose at his trademark M.O. I almost want to trick Ken into hate-watching this so we can talk about it on the show, but that’s no way to treat a friend.—RDL

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Episode 410: My Uncle Never Had an Owl

August 28th, 2020 | Robin

The Gaming Hut dares to risk horrific ill fortune to answer beloved Patreon backer Kevin Greenlee’s request for tips on game mastering powerful but cursed objects.

The History Hut looks at ways to incorporate the Bay of Pigs into The Fall of Delta Green.

The Culture Hut gets a stained-glass makeover as extremely on-brand Patreon backer Noel Warford asks for the truth behind France’s storied tradition of blind church organists.

Finally the Eliptony Hut takes a close look indeed, at the behest of insightful Patreon backer Bryan, into the pseudoscience of iridology.

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.


You know your dance crew is the hottest around… but now it’s time to prove it. Breakdancing Meeples is a real-time dexterity game of, you guessed it, breakdancing meeples, designed by Ben Moy and published by Atlas Games. Two to four people, ages six and up, compete for dancefloor glory, in five exciting minutes.

Send your 13th Age characters deep below the Dragon Empire, and even deeper into danger, with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s Book of the Underworld. Get all the subterranean exploration and menace your adventurers can handle at the Pelgrane Press store. For a limited time only, get 10% off print or PDF with the voucher code STUFFWORLD.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Suit up, agents of Delta Green. Your battle to save humanity from unnatural horrors is going beyond the Beltway. Delta Green: The Labyrinth is now shipping to a secure dead drop near you. Written by Delta Green co-creator John Scott Tynes, this all-new collection of organizations dives deep into the fissures of America in the new millennium.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: The Latest Johnnie To and Foundational New Folk Horror

August 25th, 2020 | 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

Chasing Dream (Film, HK, Johnnie To, 2019) Brash MMA fighter hoping to get out (Jacky Heung) falls for a pop idol contestant (Keru Wang) with a score to settle. Loud, broad, colorful and kinetic, this is ostensibly one of To’s commercial romances for the home market, with a meta level of genre play for himself and his auteur fans. Is it a fight flick? No! Is it a talent contest flick? No! It’s a fight contest flick and a talent contest flick!—RDL

The Corporation (Nonfiction, T. J. English, 2018) José Miguel Battle Sr. murders and schemes his way through 20th century Cuban and American history as he rises from cop in the Batista regime to Bay of Pigs invader to numbers kingpin in New York and Miami. Incisive evocation of a criminal milieu centered around a larger than life figure who consciously models himself on Coppola’s The Godfather.—RDL

A Field in England (Film, UK, Ben Wheatley, 2013) During the English Civil War, a cross-section of the English class system (Reece Shearsmith, Ryan Pope, Peter Ferdinando, Richard Glover) falls afoul of a paranatural field, its wild mushrooms, and an Irish sorcerer (Michael Smiley). It takes quite the chutzpah to set an experimental-New Wave-psychedelic film in the 1640s and make it a folk horror bottle drama, but Laurie Rose’s gorgeous, bleak black-and-white cinematography pulls all these disparate parts together. Foundational film of the New Folk Horror. –KH

Fleishman is in Trouble (Fiction, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, 2019) Tightly wound New York hepatologist spirals after initiating a divorce from a driven, status-obsessed talent agent. Brings contemporary detail, from dating apps to Minecraft, and most notably a feminist perspective, to the Philip Roth lane of American novel writing.—RDL

Vice and Virtue (Film, France, Roger Vadim, 1963) During the Nazi occupation, a mercenary young woman cozies up to German sugar daddies as her sheltered sister (Catherine Deneuve) is captured for her Resistance ties. Vadim’s glossy fetishist’s eye was never put to better use than in this examination of the sweaty perviness underlying Nazism.—RDL

Good

The Booksellers (Film, US, D.W. Young, 2020) Asking the questions “Where is antiquarian bookselling now, and where is it going?” but more interested in the conversation and the decor than the answers, this documentary teeters on the edge of self-indulgence. At its best when dealing with the nitty-gritty of the hunt and the sale (or when talking to Fran Lebowitz), it often worries pointlessly about questions of representation that it does nothing really to tackle. Still, worth watching for Bookhounds, and for Bookhounds of London players and GMs. –KH

Homecoming Season 1 (Television, US, Sam Esmail, Prime, 2018) Harried Florida waitress (Julia Roberts) resists the efforts of a dogged investigator (Shea Whigham) to uncover her past career as a counselor in an experimental treatment program for returned veterans, where she bonded with an affable young soldier (Stephan James.) Brings committed performances and an intriguing dour style to a narrative Rod Serling would have dispatched in a brisk 23 minutes.—RDL

Okay

Illang: the Wolf Brigade (Film, South Korea, Kim Jee-woon, 2018) In a grim near future, traumatized tactical team cop (Dong-Won Gang) and slain terrorist’s sister (Hyo-joo Han) become pawns in a power struggle between his squad and the Interior Ministry. Live action anime remake bogs down its stirring action sequences with overcomplicated storytelling.—RDL

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Episode 409: League of Extraordinary Liability Lawyers

August 21st, 2020 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut beloved Patreon backer Michael Brodhead seeks our assistance in moving from setting to story. Might taxonomies of storytelling help?

The Architecture Hut provides grand surroundings to examine the Utopian architects and their possible sinister schemes, as requested by vaunted Patreon backer Ludovic Chabant.

In the Monster Hut we show you how to weave a mystery scenario around a monster, in this case the Argus from The Yellow King Roleplaying Game.

Finally charming Patreon backer Jeromy French wishes to enlist Ken’s Time Machine to book a screening of David Lynch’s Revenge of the Jedi.

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.


You know your dance crew is the hottest around… but now it’s time to prove it. Breakdancing Meeples is a real-time dexterity game of, you guessed it, breakdancing meeples, designed by Ben Moy and published by Atlas Games. Two to four people, ages six and up, compete for dancefloor glory, in five exciting minutes.

Send your 13th Age characters deep below the Dragon Empire, and even deeper into danger, with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s Book of the Underworld. Get all the subterranean exploration and menace your adventurers can handle at the Pelgrane Press store. For a limited time only, get 10% off print or PDF with the voucher code STUFFWORLD.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Suit up, agents of Delta Green. Your battle to save humanity from unnatural horrors is going beyond the Beltway. Delta Green: The Labyrinth is now shipping to a secure dead drop near you. Written by Delta Green co-creator John Scott Tynes, this all-new collection of organizations dives deep into the fissures of America in the new millennium.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: The Delon-Gabin Connection

August 18th, 2020 | 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.

The Pinnacle

Any Number Can Win (Film, France, Henri Verneuil, 1964) Freshly sprung veteran heister (Jean Gabin) enlists younger, impetuous ex-cellmate (Alain Delon) to help him knock off a Riviera casino. Icons of Gallic cool execute an intergenerational team up in this class-conscious heist flick, with a final sequence that wrings brilliant suspense from almost nothing. Double bonus points for a crawling-through-air-duct sequence in which one of the obstacles is the fact that air moves at high speed through air ducts.—RDL

Recommended

The Sicilian Clan (Film, France, Henri Verneuil, 1969) Jewel thief Roger Sartet (Alain Delon) escapes a prison transfer with the aid of the titular Manalese clan headed by capo Vittorio (Jean Gabin), pursued by Commissaire Le Goff (Lino Ventura). France’s top three tough guy icons throw down in this fast-moving film, parenthesized by two great caper set pieces — the prison van breakout and the midair theft of $50 million in jewels from a DC-8 flying from Paris to New York. Jacques Saulnier’s production design highlights the contrasts between bourgeois capitalist cityscapes, old-school Sicilian home life, and brief glimpses of feminine modern style. Ennio Morricone’s score likewise flits between harpsichord and Jews’ harp, to odd effect. –KH

Good

Man with the Gun (Film, US, Richard Wilson, 1955) Cool and calculating gunslinger (Robert Mitchum) reveals more than a streak of psychopathy as he tames a lawless town and seeks answers from the ex-wife (Jan Sterling) who wants nothing to do with him. Would be a classic dark western if it didn’t tack on its unearned happy ending with a perfunctory shrug.—RDL

The Square Circle (Fiction, Daniel Carney, 1982) Lebanese mercenary John Haddad takes a contract from Harvard liberal human-rights activists (!) to break Rudolf Hess out of Spandau prison (!!). If you can swallow the outrageous premise, your reward is a very tightly-wound thriller, though Carney no longer tries to understand most of his characters, for good reason. Became the basis for the shambolic film Wild Geese 2. –KH

Tokyo! (Film, France/Japan, Michel Gondry and Leos Carax and Bong Joon-ho, 2008) A woman who feels sidelined by her filmmaker boyfriend’s ambition undergoes a strange transformation; a green-suited troglodyte rampages through Tokyo; a shut-in finds reason to leave the house. Like most anthology films, this gives directors a forum for short, minor-key works based on ideas no one would greenlight as a standalone.—RDL

Okay

Enter Nowhere (Film, US, Jack Heller, 2011) Armed robber Jodie (Sarah Paxton), newly pregnant Samantha (Katherine Waterston), and orphan Tom (Scott Eastwood) meet in a mysterious cabin in the woods, and far too slowly unravel its mysteries. If you’ve written an adequate 27-minute Twilight Zone episode, even Katherine Waterston can’t carry it for 90 minutes, especially if you’ve written her as the drippy one. –KH

The Holcroft Covenant (Film, US, John Frankenheimer, 1985) Architect Noel Holcroft (Michael Caine, substituted at the last minute for James Caan and substituting yelling for acting) discovers that his Nazi general father has left him and two other men $4.5 billion in embezzled Nazi funds, supposedly “to make amends.” I so very wanted to like this otiose adaptation of a Robert Ludlum novel (not his best, but better than this) but at every turn the leaden script arbitrarily blocked me. Frankenheimer intermittently remembers he’s shooting a paranoid thriller, though. –KH

Lost Highway (Film, US, David Lynch, 1997) Stalked by mysterious forces, a jealous husband (Bill Pullman) is arrested for murdering his wife (Patricia Arquette); a dim but hunky mechanic (Balthazar Getty) falls for her doppelganger, the girlfriend of a sadistic mobster (Robert Loggia.) Though it presents the expected riveting images, this sour noir homage skips the interplay of light and dark found in Lynch’s key works in favor of darkness vs. more darkness.—RDL

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Episode 408: Not That My Players Would Do Anything Like That

August 14th, 2020 | Robin

In lieu of our usual Gen Con wrap, we reach for an all-request episode.

Beloved Patreon backer Lauberfen meets us in the Gaming Hut to ask how to incorporate TPKs and character death into the narrative.

Inquiring Patreon backer Nikolaj picks up on a past cue from Robin to ask for a Crime Blotter rounding up the more colorful incidents of RCMP misconduct.

Reflective Patreon backer Corey Pierno seeks the Consulting Occultist’s wisdom on crystals and their history as supernatural objects.

Finally awesomely helmeted Patreon backer Walter Manbeck asks us to pop into the Television Hut to break down The Mandalorian.

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.


You know your dance crew is the hottest around… but now it’s time to prove it. Breakdancing Meeples is a real-time dexterity game of, you guessed it, breakdancing meeples, designed by Ben Moy and published by Atlas Games. Two to four people, ages six and up, compete for dancefloor glory, in five exciting minutes.

A rare opportunity for entirely legal larceny presents itself to the discerning wanderer. For a few short days the Dying Earth Roleplaying Game and every single one of its supplements has returned to the Bundle of Holding. Until August 17th, get Robin’s core game and the entire line in PDF for a price so low it’s almost a swindle. Grab all of the game that gave Pelgrane its name!

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Suit up, agents of Delta Green. Your battle to save humanity from unnatural horrors is going beyond the Beltway. Delta Green: The Labyrinth is now shipping to a secure dead drop near you. Written by Delta Green co-creator John Scott Tynes, this all-new collection of organizations dives deep into the fissures of America in the new millennium.

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Film Cannister
Cartoon Rocket
d8
Flying Clock
Robin
Film Cannister